Kirwan throws his hat into England ring

FORMER Italy and Japan coach John Kirwan has expressed an interest in replacing Martin Johnson as England manager, even if it were only in a caretaker capacity.

England are likely to employ a part-time coach with time running out ahead of February’s Six Nations and the Rugby Football Union still no closer to concluding their search for a new chief executive.

Under the terms of their agreement with Premiership Rugby, England must announce their 32-man elite squad at the start of January, but despite the lack of preparation time Kirwan would be willing to help out.

He said: “It would be an honour for me to coach the English side. The team is really exciting. I’m a head coach but I specialise in attack and unleashing the England attack would be something really exciting.”

Despite the turmoil engulfing Twickenham and the calls for Rob Andrew to resign as director of elite rugby, Kirwan is still keen to become the new coach.

He said: “For me as the head coach you need to understand and have a working relationship with the people above you but the main job is to make sure the team is performing to the best of its ability.

“I understand the Six Nations and Italy had its challenges as well from that point of view. The buffer [between players and executives] is the head coach. What happens above me should not affect the players.”