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England women’s rugby coach Simon Middleton, who is leaving his post after this year’s Six Nations, has said there needs to be “female influence” on the Red Roses coaching staff.

Middleton has won five Six Nations titles with England but will leave his position as head coach after the conclusion of the tournament in April.

Middleton makes up an all-male coaching team with assistant coaches Louis Deacon and Scott Bemand, and the England boss said his position is “better placed to be filled by a woman.”

“My position is the one that is better placed to be filled by a woman than one of the other coaching positions,” Middleton told BBC Sport.

“My position is a lot less hands-on coaching, more a director of rugby-style role — [it could work] if you have a female coach who has gone to that sort of level where she has done a lot of coaching and wants to have a slightly different slant on it.”

Middleton masterminded England’s record-breaking 30 match-winning run and guided the team to two World Cup finals in 2017 and 2022. However, the 57-year-old said “there has got to be some female influence within the coaching group.”

“If you project a coach into a position they are not ready for, that will be a bad experience and a very chastening experience that will do a lot more harm than good,” he said.

“We have got to make sure we nurture the coaches that come through.”

England’s Six Nations campaign starts against Scotland on March 25.

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