New RFU performance director will not oversee Johnson

England manager Martin Johnson pictured during a national training session in the Six Nations

Johnson will not have to report to the new performance director

The Rugby Football Union's prospective new elite performance director will not oversee England manager Martin Johnson after the job description was changed.

Under the new description the role "removes the senior team, and its management, from the responsibilities".

Reports, subsequently denied by the man himself, had suggested former coach Sir Clive Woodward was set to return to the RFU to oversee all the national teams.

It was also reported that Johnson did not want someone appointed above him.

Now the responsibilities of the new performance director will stop with the second-string Saxons team.

It was decided to issue the new job description, which has been sent to all candidates, because of what the RFU describes as a "misunderstanding" about what the role of the performance director entailed.

The role is about talent development up through the men and women's age group teams and about defining a long term performance strategy

RFU statement

The RFU said the role, one of three senior jobs in the new rugby department formed by CEO John Steele, "was always intended to be a peer role with the other rugby directors, not a coaching role for the current England senior team".

And the governing body added: "With the Rugby World Cup starting in the autumn and the positive development of the senior team so far, the RFU Board is keen not to upset the momentum established.

"It caps the elite performance director's involvement at the England Saxons level to reinforce the point that this is about talent development up through the men and women's age group teams and about defining a long-term performance strategy.

"This will be reviewed after RWC 2011 depending on the outcome on the field and discussions with the England team management."

The other new appointees in the rugby department are operations director Rob Andrew, who was formerly elite director, and Steve Grainger, who becomes development director.

Woodward, who guided England to victory in the 2003 World Cup, is currently the British Olympic Association's director of elite performance.

Former Australia coach Eddie Jones and ex-South Africa coach Jake White have also been tipped as contenders for the role, but the latter has just been appointed head coach of Australian side the Brumbies for next season's Super 15.

Other names mentioned in relation to the role include current Northampton boss Jim Mallinder, Italy coach Nick Mallett, who will leave his post after the World Cup, and USA Rugby president Nigel Melville.