Johnson boost as Thomas leaves RFU and Cotton review scrapped

EMBATTLED England manager Martin Johnson received a welcome boost last night with the news that a review to be led by Fran Cotton, one of his harshest critics, is to be scrapped following Rugby Football Union acting chief executive Martyn Thomas’ decision to step down.

The 67-year-old’s position has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months in the wake of the firing of former chief executive John Steele in June following a failed attempt to recruit a performance director.

Stephen Brown, the union’s chief financial officer, will take over from Thomas as acting chief executive next month until a full-time appointment is made.

England players had refused to co-operate with Cotton’s independent inquiry into the ill-fated World Cup campaign, which Thomas had called for. Ex-Lions manager Cotton had claimed that England under Johnson had made little or no progress and was damning of England’s conduct off the field in New Zealand.