Ex-All Black John Mitchell named England women's boss

John Mitchell was All Blacks head coach between 2001 and 2003, and served as England defence coach under Eddie Jones. Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

John Mitchell has been appointed as England Women's head coach, taking over from Simon Middleton, the Rugby Football Union announced on Thursday.

Middleton stood down from the role after leading England to the 2023 Six Nations Grand Slam and Mitchell will take on the post after the men's 2023 World Cup where he is defence coach for Japan.

Mitchell brings a wealth of experience to the role having coached the All Blacks and also holding roles in Australia, South Africa, the United States, Japan and England. He was part of England men's backroom staff as forwards coach from 1997-2000 and then defence coach under Eddie Jones from 2018-2021.

"The Red Roses have set an incredible standard and foundation for women's rugby, being the most successful team in the Six Nations which is a tremendous achievement, and we now have the opportunity to build on this, mature in key areas and become a truly champion side that can rightfully contest for the World Cup in 2025," Mitchell said.

"I would like to honour the hugely supportive Red Roses fans with successful performances as we work towards winning and selling out Twickenham Stadium for the Rugby World Cup in 2025."

Louis Deacon will lead the team on an interim basis until Mitchell takes up the role while Charlie Hayter takes on the post of head of women's performance.

And the RFU has also announced Sarah Hunter, England's most-capped player and former captain, will act as transition coach to work with the women's team and the pathway programme.