Crunch day at Twickenham should result in more answers than doubts


A week on from the anarchy created by the release of selected quotes from the post World Cup reports, the RFU Council will meet today to clear up two key issues, as well as hear the complete recommendations from the RPA, Premiership Rugby and RFU reports on how to proceed with the set up of the English game.

Furthermore, and arguably most importantly in the eyes of the English supporting public, the Council will decide on an intermin coach to lead England during the Six Nations, so that the proper and most thorough of searches can be carried out to find the suitable long term man for the job. Or in other words, begin the initial stages of persuading Nick Mallett that England is the place for him to be over the next four years and perhaps beyond.

Mallett admitted on Monday that the England job was one of the top five jobs in the game, that any coach with ambition would want to take it on. For the mean time, a combination of Stuart Lancaster and Graham Rowntree, or the return of Brian Ashton, are the likely options for the short-term, or perhaps all three of them together. The idea of Rob Andrew shaking Ashton’s hand at the door with a smile and a ‘welcome back’ is nothing short of amusing, given the way he dismissed him following the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Which brings us on to the next issue for the board. Andrew’s future can only be decided through a vote of no confidence, which given the general reaction to his actions over the last fortnight and previously does not bode so well for the former England fly-half. He arguably has performed 80% of his job to a good standard (U18s, U20s, and finance and beyond) but the 20% that people really care about is the senior side, and that is the area where with three coaches during his 8 year reign and one Six Nations title to boot, he has failed.

All in all, English rugby could look rather different come tomorrow night, perhaps for the better. Our advice? Don’t expect miracles.

11 thoughts on “Crunch day at Twickenham should result in more answers than doubts

  1. John Kirwan now in the frame for the caretaker role apparently…

    Not sure why anyone would want a temporary role – least of all Brian Ashton! I guess they’ll get paid pretty well without too much pressure, but it can’t be particularly edifying.

  2. Am I the only one getting mixed messages out of the RFU (nothing strange there then!). I thought they had announced that Stuart Lancaster was going to be caretaker manager while a search went on. Now they seem to be saying that they have approached Brian Ashton in an amazing “volte face”. Why he doesn’t stick two fingers up to them, goodness only knows. Maybe he cares more about the game than he does the RFU shafting him. WHAT is going on?

  3. My fear is that they will promote from within re the ceo role and those directors who Blackett called to step down will remain. Stephen Brown may be very able but the fact that Thomas recommends him should rule him out of contention in my book.

    1. I know what you mean – I felt slightly uneasy at the suggestion of organisational nepotism. My only hope is a new CEO from an external source acting as the proverbial new broom.

    1. There needs to be!

      Agreed with Staggy, the only hope for the RFU is an entirely new broom. To many of the people currently in place are tainted

      Anyone thomas reccomends should probably be asked to pack their desks up immediately

      And God only knows what’s happening with the coaches!?!

      Sticking Lancaster in as a caretaker so that everything could be sorted out without rushing or panicking actually seemed like a good idea for once

      So what on earth are all the rumours about Ashton and Kirwan? Wouldn’t be suprised (or blame him) if Lancaster told them where they could stick it

    1. Hmmm but weren’t they the ones reporting him as interim, before we then had reports of Ashton being offered the job.

      Do we think that they have a good nose for these things or is someone leaking information to them? I suppose the RFU were always likely to leak to the Telegraph, I don’t suppose any of the grandees read anything else!!

  4. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got to 6pm tonight and Rob Andrew was on his way out. The RFU board will have seen how much damage he is doing and know the fact that if he doesn’t go it strikes a number of people off the potential coaches list.

    Andrew may have done part of his job well, but the most important part (and commercially viable section of it) has been done poorly. It’s the equivalent of someone saying the paint job on the Titanic was good.

    I imagine if Ashton comes back it will be on his terms. All well and good thinking it might be best for him to tell the RFU to shove it, but this could be the chance to prove to the RFU they missed out first time.


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