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Reports: England manager Martin Johnson quits

Updated: November 16, 2011, 07:18

LONDON(AP) Martin Johnson reportedly quit as England manager on Wednesday in the wake of a shambolic Rugby World Cup campaign that was overshadowed by indiscretions on and off the pitch.

A series of lurid headlines followed England around New Zealand before a limp quarterfinal exit against France in October.

Three separates reviews were launched by the Rugby Football Union into the World Cup campaign, but Johnson decided to quit before their findings were published, according to widespread British media reports. His contract was due to expire at the end of the year.

The RFU only announced that Johnson and head of elite rugby Rob Andrew would speak later Wednesday at a media conference.

The 6-foot-8 (2.03 meter) Johnson made 84 appearances for England, 39 of them as captain before replacing Brian Ashton as coach in 2008.

Johnson had hoped a relaxed regime for his squad would help them emulate his 2003 World Cup triumph, but it spectacularly backfired.

Johnson's team lost 19-12 to the French in the quarterfinals after struggling to narrow pool victories over Argentina and Scotland.

The first major incident to be exposed came early in the tournament when captain Mike Tindall was captured on security footage holding a woman's hand and receiving a kiss on top of his head at a Queenstown bar. That made front-page news because the 2003 World Cup-winning center had just married Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter. He has since been dropped from the national squad and fined 25,000 pounds ($40,000).

Three players were also reprimanded for making sexist comments to a hotel worker on the trip that culminated in center Manu Tuilagi being detained by police after jumping off a ferry into Auckland harbor in the wake of the France loss.

England also narrowly avoided being punished by World Cup organizers when two assistant coaches were instead stood down by the RFU amid a ball-switching scandal in the 67-3 win against Romania.

The highlight of Johnson's 38-test tenure as manager came earlier this year with England's first Six Nations title since 2003.

Johnson's overall record since he took control for the 2008 autumn internationals was 21 victories, 16 defeats and one draw.

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