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Andrew digs in as Jones eyes England job

MARTIN Johnson stood down as England team manager yesterday, but his under-fire boss Rob Andrew refused to follow him through the Twickenham door.

Andrew has been in charge of the Rugby Football Union’s elite rugby department since 2006, and has overseen the departure of three England head coaches – Johnson, Brian Ashton and Andy Robinson.

Johnson quit after presiding over England’s disappointing World Cup campaign, which was dogged by controversy and ended with a quarter-final defeat to France. The announcement came on the eve of today’s Professional Game Board World Cup review, where much of the focus was set to be on Andrew’s role in England’s failure.

One source close to the PGB said: “Rob Andrew is ultimately in charge. If it's not working then whose responsibility is it? Where does it all come back to?”Andrew, however, insisted he was not to blame for England falling short of their minimum target of a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

“I’m not considering resigning,” he said. “Martin’s unit is a self-contained unit within the elite rugby department running the England team. That is about a fifth of the responsibilities I have in running the biggest department of the union, from a financial point of view.”

Meanwhile, former Australia coach Eddie Jones last night expressed an interest in the England job, hours after former Italy coach Nick Mallett had ruled himself out of contention. Jones said he would not be put off by the chaotic state of the RFU's senior management.

“Over the last period of time England rugby has lost its way and you'd have to question the people in place now,” Jones said.

Northampton chairman Leon Barwell says it is “a no-brainer” that he wants Jim Mallinder to stay in charge.

Mallinder is among the favourites to succeed Johnson and has previously worked with the Saxons and U21s.