England: Attack coach Martin Gleeson leaves set-up following Nick Evans’ appointment

Coach Martin Gleeson has left the England set-up just three weeks out from the start of the Six Nations, it has been announced.

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The former rugby league star and Wasps attack coach joined Eddie Jones’ backroom team in August 2021 after impressing at the Midlanders.

Steve Borthwick’s appointment signals a change of coaches

However, after Jones was sacked last December, new head honcho Steve Borthwick brought in Harlequins’ Nick Evans to take charge of the attack.

There was no news of Gleeson’s position when Evans was appointed, but the Rugby Football Union have now confirmed that the 42-year-old has departed.

Gleeson said: “It’s been a pleasure to represent my country again and to work with this group of players. I wish them all the best this coming year.”

RFU executive director of performance rugby Conor O’Shea added: “We’d like to thank Martin for his contribution and hard work at England Rugby and we wish him the very best for the future.”

England’s form has gradually declined since their appearance in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

Despite winning the disrupted 2020 Six Nations, the performances were mediocre and began a downward trend which culminated in a disappointing 2022.

They claimed just five wins in 12 matches – their worst year since 2008 – and failed to show any signs of progress under Jones.

Difficulty knitting backline together

The head coach looked to reshape their attack by playing Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell together, but he and Gleeson were unable to get the best out of the duo, as well as the backline as a whole.

Evans, who coaches Smith at club level, has stated that the partnership between the Quins fly-half and Farrell could continue, but knows that there needs to be clarity when they begin the Six Nations against Scotland.

“There is no reason why they can’t play together. But you have to be very clear about what you are trying to achieve, how you are doing this, what the detail looks like. Once everyone is clear on that then you can go through with it,” he said.

“Some of the feedback was that maybe that wasn’t there, so maybe there was a bit of a crossover. It’s just about making sure that you’re very clear on roles and responsibilities.”