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Johnson quits as English boss

MARTIN Johnson has stepped down from his role as England manager with immediate effect.

England's disastrous World Cup campaign, which saw the side lose in the quarter-finals to France and will be remembered as much for players' off field behaviour as performances on it, has forced Johnson to make the decision.

Vice-captain Mike Tindall was fined £25,000 and told his England career was over after a drinking session in a bar New Zealand following England's opening game against Argentina.

Johnson publicly defended Tindall at the time and the RFU's decision to take action against the player after the event seemed to undermine Johnson and it is believed that he was left distraught at the way events panned out at the tournament.

That incident was the first of many in New Zealand with James Haskell and Chris Ashton also reprimanded for an incident in the team hotel, while Manu Tuilagi was fined for jumping off a ferry in Auckland harbour days after England's elimination.

The news comes ahead of Thursday's wide-ranging review into the World Cup campaign by the Professional Game Board.

Johnson’s position was to be discussed at the meeting at Twickenham as the PGB considers reports from Rob Andrew, the Rugby Football Union’s elite rugby director, Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players’ Association.

However Johnson has now made the decision to end the uncertainty surrounding his future and will address the media to explain his reasons in a joint press conference with Andrew.

England's 2003 World Cup-winnning captain had been in charge of the team since 2008 and his contract was due to expire in December.

England's quarterfinal loss to France in New Zealand was England's worst World Cup showing since 1999.

England fell short of their stated objective of reaching the World Cup semi-finals in New Zealand.

Although the players have publicly backed him to re-apply for the post of manager when his contract ends on December 31, he felt his position was untenable.


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