Vern Cotter in contention for England job

by staff

Failed All Blacks coach candidate Vern Cotter has been named as a frontrunner for the top job for England, a British newspaper reports.

The New Zealander, who currently coaches the French club Clermont Auvergne, is understood to be one of the leading names up for consideration as England head coach, along with former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett, The Daily Telegraph reported.

A headhunting firm hired by the Rugby Football Union to find a permanent replacement for Martin Johnson, who resigned as England manager in November following a controversial World Cup campaign, made a presentation to the professional game board this week, The Telegraph said.

Cotter, 49, lost his bid to takeover as New Zealand head coach in December when his only rival Steve Hansen was offered the two-year appointment.

Cotter’s coaching career includes a position with Bay of Plenty for a number of years, and assistant to Robbie Deans at the Crusaders in 2005 and 2006.

As the recruitment drive continues, interim England coach Stuart Lancaster is due to name his 32-man elite player squad on Wednesday.