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England Rugby
Cotton to call Johnson
ESPNscrum Staff
October 30, 2011

England manager Martin Johnson will be among the first interviewees when Fran Cotton starts his review into England's woeful World Cup campaign later this week.

Cotton has already spoken with Johnson twice and the former England prop will begin looking into England's dismal World Cup exit once the terms of reference for the review are formally agreed at the Rugby Football Union's management board meeting on Wednesday.

"I've spoken with Martin on two occasions," Cotton told the Sunday Telegraph. "The first time I told him to take some time to collect his thoughts before he made up his mind as to whether he wanted to put himself forward again as England manager.

"In my experience it is dangerous to make a decision in the immediate aftermath of a big event. The second time was just to tell him that I would be seeing him as a matter of priority. He's first on the list with Rob Andrew [the RFU's director of elite rugby] second."

Cotton was asked to compile the report by acting chief executive Martyn Thomas. And despite Thomas fighting for his future at the RFU and Andrew also preparing a report on England's World Cup failings, Cotton is confident his review will go ahead.

"I was asked to conduct the review by the RFU's acting chief executive Martyn Thomas and I have heard nothing to indicate that the situation has changed," he said.

Cotton will be assisted by former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio and two high profile experts in elite performance, who have been signed off by the sports minister Hugh Robertson. Johnson has yet to confirm whether he will be seeking an extension to his contract with England or move on - with Leicester Tigers a possible destination.

"We care a great deal about Martin," said a senior Leicester official told the Sunday Telegraph. "He is always close to our hearts and if things don't work out for him with England, we'd do anything to help. But there are no discussions taking place at the moment."

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