Martin Johnson confirmed Wednesday he was resigning as manager of the England rugby team following a disappointing World Cup campaign blighted by ill discipline.
"I won't be renewing my contract at the end of December," Johnson told a Twickenham news conference - bringing to an end three-and-a-half years in charge of the national team.
"I've obviously thought long and hard about this and it's the right decision for me and the England team.
"We have come a long way in the last three-and-a-half years and a lot of credit should go to the coaches, back-room staff and players.
"We have developed some exciting young players in the last 18 months or so and I believe English rugby has a bright future. I've had great support from everyone involved in the England squad, the Elite Rugby Department and the whole of the RFU and I wish them all the best for the future."
RFU Elite Rugby Director Rob Andrew said Johnson had worked "tirelessly" to develop this England team, from a position where the team needed a great deal of rebuilding following the 2007 World Cup.
"A whole new group of players has been introduced to the demands of Test match rugby, including: Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Tom Croft, Tom Wood, Ben Youngs, Danny Care, Manu Tuilagi, Chris Ashton and Ben Foden," Andrew said.
"They have experienced winning in the southern hemisphere against Australia and winning the Six Nations title for the first time since 2003. They have also suffered the huge disappointment of the World Cup in New Zealand and how many of these players respond to this disappointment will define their careers.
"We have always insisted that Martin would take the team to the World Cup and we would then assess what steps would be taken. Martin has made this decision and we fully respect that.
"He has handled himself with great dignity and integrity throughout his time as England Team Manager, as he did when he was England captain. He is a hugely respected figure in the English game and, although we were all disappointed with the way the World Cup turned out, we need to ensure that moving forward we learn the lessons that came out of the campaign.
"The Professional Game Board will meet to review England's Rugby World Cup performance and Martin has obviously contributed fully to that. All aspects of the management and coaching structure will be reviewed and until then it would not be appropriate to talk about a replacement for Martin."
RFU Acting Chief Executive Martyn Thomas said: "I would like to thank Martin for all he has done for English rugby, both as a player and a manager. It is disappointing that he has decided to step down but we fully respect his decision.
"We now have to look forward and the RFU will ensure that the structure and appointments made are in the best interests of English rugby as we move towards our home World Cup in 2015."
Johnson's decision follows a miserable World Cup which ended in quarterfinal defeat by France and featured a series of on and off-field controversies.
The 41-year-old won 84 caps for England as a player, leading the side to victory in the 2003 World Cup.
The position of Johnson's backroom staff of forwards coach John Wells, defence coach Mike Ford, scrum coach Graham Rowntree and attack coach Brian Smith is not clear.
Graham Henry and Nick Mallett, former coaches of New Zealand and Italy respectively, have been suggested as possible replacements for Johnson.
Northampton coach Jim Mallinder has confirmed he would be interested in the role.
Under Johnson's leadership, England won the Six Nations earlier this year, but it proved to be the only tournament success of his time in charge.
After a series of unconvincing performances in the group stages of the World Cup, England fell in their first knockout match.
A series of reviews into the campaign have been announced against the backdrop of internal upheaval at the RFU.
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