Key actions from RFU Board meeting

England RugbyThe RFU have held a press conference at Twickenham this afternoon, and whilst there weren’t any headline announcements or sackings, some of the next steps are interesting.

Here is the RFU’s summary, interspersed with a few of our own thoughts.

England should appoint a Head Coach with the appropriate experience and track record in time for the tour of South Africa in June 2012

This rules out Jim Mallinder I would think, and it sounds like they are going after Nick Mallett.

An interim Head Coach should be appointed to prepare England for the 2012 RBS 6 Nations

There was no announcement, so perhaps it isn’t Stuart Lancaster after all, and perhaps Brian Ashton is still deciding. ‘As soon as possible’ was the recommended timescale, given that the revised EPS needs to be named on 11th January.

The interim and permanent England Head Coach will report to the Chief Executive and the Board of Directors

The new CEO will be heavily involved in the appointment of a coach, apparently, and will take responsibility – unlike Rob Andrew in the wake of the Rugby World Cup.

The support structures around the senior England team will be re-evaluated, including the appointment of a Senior England Team Manager to handle all non-playing responsibilities of the team

Additional support structures to be implemented will include:
– Stricter parameters over the presence of agents in international camp
– Consideration of security resources on tour
– A leadership group of players with a cross-section of age and experience

An independent review of the RFU’s Elite Rugby Department

Rob Andrew will formally be appointed to the role of RFU Professional Rugby Director with responsibilities for all Professional Rugby Department operations, including the relationship with Premiership Rugby, Tournaments and Competitions and England representative teams except the senior side

Rob Andrew has lost the ‘20%’ of his job at which he failed so spectacularly. But he’s not resigning…

A full and co-ordinated schedule of visits to Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs by the national coaching group

A full review of senior England team medical and sports science processes and protocols

The RFU will make players fully aware of the importance of adhering to core values when representing England

The RFU will improve communication between the players, the RPA and the RFU commercial department on planned commercial activities

The RFU will create a stable and trusted management structure for the governance of the RFU itself and to support the senior England team

The press conference actually started with an apology on behalf of the RFU, and it did seem to dawn on them that they had spectacularly messed things up. RFU Acting Chief Executive, Stephen Brown, said, “‘I didn’t expecting to be sitting here at a press conference just one day in the job, but this is important.”

PGB Chaiman Ian Metcalfe also said, “We mustn’t get wrapped up in finding the leaker rather than addressing the problems” which suggests they’ve got their priorities in order – although the investigation is still underway to find that leaker.

Is this the start of positive change at the RFU?

18 thoughts on “Key actions from RFU Board meeting

  1. At last, this is some positive news coming from HQ. Rob Andrew wouldn’t resign, so he’s just been completely sidelined, and by next summer, there will be a new CEO and new ‘head coach with appropriate experience and track record’ in place – aka Nick Mallett.

  2. Are you sure it is all positive?
    Squeaky is now in charge of ALL other representative sides. These are the the sides that heve been impressively successful under different coaching teams over a number of years.
    I wonder just how long it will take him to destroy all that hard work?

    1. I think he’s always been ‘responsible’ for those, and the coaching teams won’t change so it won’t make a difference. He doesn’t seem to do anything, so I wouldn’t worry!

      As someone said, ‘give him a rubbish job and hope he resigns’!

    2. the other representative sides, i.e. U21 and below, largely owe their success to the coaching structures at their clubs, and this will continue to be the case. Andrew will be given a watching brief over it all, and be responsible for telling the board how it’s all going.

      As Hutch says, he’s been sidelined.

  3. So all these great things bring introduced . . . sounds like we are an emerging nation with hardly an overseas tour under our belt. I cannot imagine a company getting away with this sort of governance without shareholders rightly demanding a lot of personnel changes. Certainly would not be happy with a bunch of ideas that are basic business requirements that it appears were not in place. Seems the powers that be are happy to meander down the same well trod path that results in a general and unfortunate lack of respect in RFU. Time that stopped and our game was in safer hands.

    1. I agree to an extent, but in a few months’ time, the game will be in the hands of the new CEO and new head coach. The current organisation is limping along with board changes and resignations, but when the new appointments are made, we should see some progress.

      I do agree with the sentiment that these are fairly basic principles of org structure!

  4. All well and good but the 6 Nations are nearly on top and an interim Manager needs a coaching staff up to the job…….something we do not have (bar Graham Rowntree).
    Say they allow coach ‘A’ to look after the team can that person bring there own coaching team?
    They need a clear out, the players said as much in the leaked reports.
    Brian Smith has gone who has his job?

    What will the structure of the new acting head coaches team look like?
    Finally why are we going backwards in getting Brian Ashton?
    Surely the Clubs would help us with a decent coaching set up for the six nations?

  5. All change at the mad hatters tea party! Well Andrew now has his fourth job in the RFU. Am becoming very concerned that the new CEO will be an internal appointment and the old gang will be able to sit down together for tea and say lets wait for everything to blow over – the Six nations should make everyone forget we exist and then we can carry on with the same old mismanagement, back stabbing and general incompetance that we are so good at!

    So what was the press conference for? to tell us they were sorry? To tell us that Squeaky has got a new job? They didn’t say much else that hadn’t been leaked to the press already. Rather a damp squib really – don’t know why I was expecting more? All rather sad!

    1. There rarely is an RFU press conference where one of the old journo gang hasn’t been leaked the news and told everyone already.

  6. I’m impressed that this has all happened so quickly. I think Rob Andrew in his “buffer” (not a typo) role was an experiment gone wrong and the RFU has fixed it. I thought this would be dragged out over a year and the coaches that would have been interested would have jobs.

    My only issue is that they’re only just doing this. Rob Andrew has been in his buffer role for at least 4 years and it’s a role that has been under fire since it’s conception. This should have been fixed 3 years ago.The appointment of a team manager, again, something that should have happened a while ago because coaches shouldn’t have to deal with this. Meeting with clubs is an obvious one. I’ve seen Johnno and Rowntree at games, but I’ve not spotted much of the rest of the coaching staff. It’s possibly something that’s already supposed to have happened, but they’re reiterating it.

    I suspect Lancaster will be the man to head up England for the 6 Nations. Makes the most sense, unless they’re going to approach Kirwan. I doubt they’ll select Ashton based on the fact that he was a dreadful coach and he would be extremely unpopular, but also, Ashton has not heard from the RFU and this is just a rumour someone started. Lancaster has experience with the Saxons players and would be the man to start bringing through talent, I think it would be a positive appointment to get England through 6 months. It certainly looks like they’re paving the way for Mallet and I think that that is a good idea.

    All in all, I see a lot of positives in the statement and look forward to seeing how England develop.

  7. Certainly the question over the coaches needs to be sorted out soon.

    Brian Smith has fallen on his sword but Wells, Ford and Alred may well need a crowbar to get them out

    This needs to be resolved and soon. The entire coaching team needs to be cleared out and replaced.

    Everyone is letting Rowntree off the hook on the basis of a couple of players’ comments but how crap was our scrum in the RWC? Whose idea was it to drop a good and improving Corbisiero for Stevens at loosehead and then to stick with him despite him being continually penalised and comprehensively beaten by most opposition?

    Clean the entire lot out. Re-start with an entirely new coaching regime

    1. I agree that it was madness to go with Stevens who was cheating at every scrum, very poor technique, but that’s possibly not down to Rowntree. Other than Stevens, the scrum was good and presumably, the loose portion of his game was the reason he was selected after being embarrassing first time out. Not that he was any better in the loose.

      Presumably, any coach coming in will have his own team. England might as well stick with what they have until then or bring up some of the Saxons’ coaching staff, because not many people are going to apply for a low level coaching role on a short term.

  8. “A full and co-ordinated schedule of visits to Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs by the national coaching group”

    Does this mean that this wasn’t happening before. If so it would explain why the same useless plodding, over the hill players (not all) were being selected time and again, instead of being put out to pasture. For the national coaching team to not be visiting premiership clubs and talking to players and club coaches is pretty shocking. Have they been watching highlights on Sky sports down the pub whilst arguing over whose round it is?

    1. It was supposed to be happening before. I know I’ve seen Johnno and Rowntree at Premiership and Heineken Cup games in the last year. However, one of the criticisms of Brian Smith was that he didn’t do this and at present, I think it was just coaches prerogative. The RFU are just making it official and planned rather than letting coaches go where and when they please

  9. They must already have someone in mind for the CEO role, as they have said they are aiming to appoint someone by the turn of the year. So will the interim coach be appointed before the CEO? And will that person be picking the EPS squad to be announced on 11th January?

    For me Stuart Lancaster is currently in the best position to take the interim role. He knows the current squad, and he knows the players who should be included, from his Saxons work. Should be a no-brainer.

  10. I may be missing something here but Rob Andrew’s new job description seems pretty much identical to the one which John Steele got fired for drawing up earlier in the year. Martyn Thomas basically fired him for removing responsibility for the England team from the role. Since then Martyn Thomas has been sacked, largely for his handling of John Steele’s removal. So hasn’t Steele been completely 100% vindicated? His recommendations have now been taken up and the man who removed him is in disgrace. He was deemed by everybody at the time as the outstanding candidate, we seem to be struggling to find another CEO now so can he come back? He probably wouldn’t want to and they are looking for someone a bit more corporate but he has probably got pretty decent grounds for legal action. Just goes to show what a mess of personal fiefdoms the organisation has become.

    Encouraging stuff though. I think we’ve got enough decent coaches in England to not need to go for Nick Mallett but they seem to be bending over backwards to get him. He certainly wouldn’t take any crap and perhaps an ‘outsider’ with a my way or the highway attitude is exactly what we need. Get Rowntree, Dave Ellis (as we can’t get Edwards), Catt and Ryan working under him and we may have a pretty formidable coaching team.

    1. You’re exactly right. In fact my opinion of the John Steele saga had a long time ago turned in the direction of he’s right. The RFU wanted him to bring Clive Woodward back. I have two issues with this. Primarily, Clive Woodward doesn’t want to come back, give it up. Secondarily, The last thing England need to do is live in the past with someone who hasn’t worked in rugby for 8 years. A lot has changed. John Steele rightly ascertained that they weren’t going to get Woodward and decided to advertise the role that would have made more sense and they have now created. I wouldn’t object to seeing him return with a hefty payrise and apology.

      I like the look of your coaching team actually. I like the idea of Mallet as head coach, Rowntree scrum, Dorian West forwards, Dave Ellis defence, Catt backs and Jason Robinson attack.

      I know Robinson hasn’t got much in the way of credentials, only coaching Sale thus far, but he was a visionary of both codes and if he can teach players to do half of what he did England would be moving in the right direction.

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