RWC Review - Sir Clive Woodward Knows What It Takes To Win A World Cup

RWC Review - Sir Clive Woodward Knows What It Takes To Win A World Cup

The Rugby Football Union is to welcome independent recommendations from outside staff at Twickenham as part of the review of England’s failed World Cup campaign, which could include former coaches such as Sir Clive Woodward and past international players having an input.

The format of the review is likely to be formalised later this week, with RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie to run it himself or as chair of a panel that could include an independent member, with the recommendations to be delivered to the governing body's board on Nov 17. 

Even if there is no formal independent presence on the review panel, it is thought that Ritchie will consider views from as board a church of opinion as possible – potentially including Woodward, the 2003 World Cup winning coach. 

The RFU are keen to ensure there is no perception or reality of insularity in the decision-making process that could determine whether Stuart Lancaster remains as head coach. There will be no formal role for feedback from the Premiership clubs and the Rugby Players’ Association as there was in the 2011 report but again they are likely to be fully consulted. 

Jason Leonard, England’s World Cup winning prop who is now president of the union, is also likely to have a major input as well as Andrew and the governing body’s chairman Bill Beaumont. The RFU want to avoid accusations of insularity.

The RFU however are intent in compiling just one review instead of the three that were compiled four years ago following the World Cup campaign in New Zealand, in part to reduce the risk of a repeat of it being leaked. Lancaster could decide before the process is presented to the board that he does not wish to continue in his role as he spends this week considering his position and the possible implications for his family if he were to continue to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Lancaster’s attention to detail is such that he has already put in place plans for next season’s Six Nations and will continue to review and analyse the remaining World Cup matches even if he will not attend them in person. Independent input to the review will almost certainly ask for the RFU’s decision not to select overseas players such as Steffon Armitage to be reconsidered. 

James Haskell, the England flanker who spent time playing in New Zealand, Japan and France before the RFU brought in their rule, has suggested that young Premiership players who cannot force their way into first teams, could benefit from experiencing rugby overseas. “I would recommend any young players with that opportunity to play abroad, to play in Super 15, or in Europe,” Haskell said. “I think development-wise it’s great. The Premiership is so attritional because we have relegation and it’s so physical. “And a lot of young players don’t get opportunities here. So if they look to try something different, I think it would be a great way of doing it. But if you have an England career you have to think about it very carefully.” 

Meanwhile, England are to consider playing more Test matches in the north of England following the success of the impact of their World Cup game against Uruguay in Manchester in a bid to boost the profile of the sport in the region. England’s 60-3 victory at the Manchester City stadium was the last full-strength national side to play in the region since a World Cup qualifying match against the Netherlands in Huddersfield in 1998 and the last high-profile game was the previous year against the All Blacks at Old Trafford. A report commissioned by the RFU on boosting the game in the north had recommended in 2011 that more high-profile games, including autumn Test matches and Six Nations games should be staged in cities like Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. 

The plan was shelved following the appointment of Ian Ritchie has chief executive in 2012 on commercial grounds given the fact that the RFU makes over £10 million for every Test match held at Twickenham while taking a game to another ground would incur rent costs and loss of corporate hospitality and other match day revenue.

However Stephen Brown, the chief executive of England Rugby 2015, who is also the chief financial officer at the RFU, indicated on Monday that the success in terms of fans engagement and World Cup legacy benefits of Lancaster’s side playing in Manchester on Saturday is likely to lead to more Test matches being staged in the north. “I think it was an amazing success,” Brown said. “The welcome we got from Manchester was unbelievable. I know there was rugby league going on as well but it was full of a buzz around what was going to take place that day. “I think that was as much about England going to Manchester as it was about the World Cup element of it. It is always a commercial challenge as you can image – the impact of hosting in someone else’s stadium versus your own but I think there is a case to be made for us considering more games in the north if we can accommodate. 

– Entry was posted on October 20th, 2015 by James Haskell

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