Players bemused as World Cup-winning coach Gary Street departs

Street is thought to have rejected an offer to stay with the team until the end of the forthcoming tournament

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The Independent Online

Gary Street, who crowned a 14-year association with the England women’s team by guiding them to a world title in Paris last summer, has left his job as head coach – and, indeed, cut his ties with the Rugby Football Union – less than a fortnight before the start of the Six Nations campaign.

The governing body said the surprise move was by “mutual consent”, but some of the players who featured most prominently in the  global tournament were bemused by developments.

Street, who took full charge in 2007, is thought to have rejected an offer to stay with the team until the end of the forthcoming tournament. His departure comes in the wake of a Twickenham review of the World Cup campaign, conducted by the RFU’s  performance department.

The assistant coach, Graham Smith, is also on the way out, but will not leave until the completion of Six Nations business in March.

Nicky Ponsford, the union’s head of women’s performance, will fill the gap left by Street, and said yesterday: “Many of those players who won in Paris last year have been developed and coached by Gary and Graham throughout their entire careers. However, we all felt the time was right to make some changes within the women’s programme as we look to rebuild the team ahead of the next World Cup in 2017.”

Perhaps the most celebrated member of the title-winning side, the recently retired flanker Maggie Alphonsi, described the parting of the ways as “sad news”.

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