Special meeting will reveal Johnson role

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The Independent Online

Rob Andrew is set to confirm who he wants as England's new team manager when he fronts a specially convened management board meeting at Twickenham tomorrow morning. It would be a significant shock if Andrew does not propose Martin Johnson, England's 2003 World Cup-winning captain, for the newly created position.

Andrew, England's director of elite rugby, is known to have met with Johnson to discuss the team manager role at least once over the last month. The Rugby Football Union sanctioned the appointment of a new team manager and a new specialist coach when Andrew delivered his Six Nations review last month.

No specific job description was ever drawn up for the team role, following a request for flexibility from Andrew, and that is also set to be outlined tomorrow. The RFU management board must still ratify Andrew's proposal and there could be sticking points ahead. Johnson is known to want complete control over the England coaching staff but the RFU chief executive, Francis Baron, has warned there will be no mass clear-out.

"It is important when someone new comes in they have an opportunity to mould the coaching team going forward. But my management philosophy is evolution not revolution," said Baron. "There will be no blank cheque."

The RFU also needs to tread carefully as Brian Ashton is under contract as head coach, having led England to a World Cup final and their best Six Nations finish in five years.

In December, Andrew confirmed Ashton would get the kind of team manager he wants – someone who can share the managerial and administrative burden but who will not get involved in rugby affairs.

However, the RFU's courting of Johnson suggests the ground has moved following England's inconsistent Six Nations play.

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