England Women head coach Simon Middleton will step down from his role after this year’s Women’s Six Nations tournament. The 57-year-old guided England to their record-breaking 30 match-winning run and two Rugby World Cup finals in 2017 and 2022.
Middleton joined the RFU in 2014 and led the England Women Sevens on the World Series, as well as taking a role as assistant coach for the 2014 Rugby World Cup in France where England were crowned champions. During his tenure to date, he has guided England to five Six Nations titles and four Grand Slams. Middleton was awarded an MBE for services to rugby football in June 2021 and was the first women’s coach to be named World Rugby Coach of the Year in the same year.
He will lead the team for this year’s Six Nations, which kicks off next month. Forwards coach Louis Deacon and backs coach Scott Bemand will also remain in their roles for the Six Nations.
Middleton said: “Representing England in a coaching or playing capacity must be the pinnacle of any sporting career, and I can’t put into words how proud and fortunate I’ve been to be able to do this for the last nine years.
“Outside of my family, rugby has been my life, giving me purpose, direction, great memories, and even greater friends. Growing up as a lad from Knottingley in Yorkshire I was inspired by the likes of Sir Bill Beaumont, Will Carling and the great England sides of the 70s, 80s and 90s, so to find myself so heavily involved with England in the game I love was a dream come true.
“This job has created a life I’d only ever dreamt of. Hopefully, what we have managed to achieve reflects well. It means the world to me to represent my country and the RFU. With whatever I do, I always work as hard as I can and I can honestly say I’ve never done anything without giving my best, it’s not always been good enough but I have always given my all.
“During this tenure, I have worked with incredible players and staff and I will miss the daily interactions. I would like to say a huge thank you for their efforts and everything they have done to support the programme and contribute to our success.
“I’ve seen a lot change over the nine years I’ve been involved and the development of the women’s game has been remarkable.”