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Johnson in line to continue


Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson

The Rugby Football Union's acting chief executive Martyn Thomas has opened the way for Martin Johnson to continue as England manager beyond the World Cup - if he wants to.

Johnson is contracted until December and the RFU, under previous chief executive John Steele, decided there was no need to engage in contract negotiations until the tournament is over.

"Martin is such an honest assessor of his own performance that he will judge himself after the World Cup," said Thomas, who stood down as RFU chairman on Sunday but will run the day-to-day union affairs until the new year.

"He will turn around and say he is pleased with what he has done and he is staying or that, because he is very self-critical, that he is not happy.

"There is unlikely to be a CEO before January. I will have no problem in sitting down with Martin after the World Cup and resolving his position in the interests of England and the coaching team."

The upheaval in the corridors of power at the RFU should have no affect on England's chances of success at the World Cup, which kicks off against Argentina on September 10.

England's players are on a week's break from their summer training camp. They will gather back at Pennyhill Park next Monday for the build-up to the August warm-up internationals against Wales, home and away, and Ireland.

"I have spoken to Martin Johnson and the coaches. They said to me that what was going on at Twickenham was not on their radar. The players are not interested in what is happening here," said Thomas.

The RFU will enter the World Cup, at which England will collect the baton as host nation of the 2015 tournament, without a permanent chairman or chief executive in place.

Paul Murphy, the RFU vice-president, will act as interim chairman until a special general meeting is called to elect Thomas' permanent replacement. The earliest that can happen is October 8, two days before England's World Cup campaign begins. For logistical reasons it is likely to take place some weeks later.