Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Ryan seeks stability from RFU

Ben Ryan

England Sevens coach Ben Ryan has lifted the lid on the challenges of working within Rob Andrew's elite rugby department during a year which saw Twickenham rocked by civil war.

Ryan fears valuable Olympic preparation time has been wasted by the turbulence which engulfed the Rugby Football Union (RFU) after John Steele's departure as chief executive and has called for urgent action to be taken.

The RFU have been riven by power struggles and political in-fighting for most of 2011 but hope Wednesday's board meeting and the imminent appointment of a new chief executive will be the first steps towards stabilisation. And Ryan believes that cannot come soon enough, saying: "It is always unsettling to have a lot of movement around your department or your team."

He added: "It hasn't been a particularly easy ride for anyone in the last year.

"There are lots of things that wouldn't necessarily be as good as you would have liked. The atmosphere once John Steele left took a bit of a battering and it is not going to solve itself overnight.

"I have been amazed that people have been able to get on with what they have to do."

England, Scotland, Wales and potentially Northern Ireland must thrash out a formula for entering a unified Great Britain team into the 2016 Rio Olympics, but Ryan believes those plans have been stalled.

"Both ourselves and Scotland were minus a CEO for a while and that has meant that some of the finer points on how we put the GB side together has halted for a little bit," Ryan said.

"We need a concerted and integrated approach to make sure the womens' and the mens' programmes get every chance so when we come to Rio qualification in 2014 nobody can look back on it and say they weren't well prepared.

"Time is running out pretty quickly for that. When the dust hopefully settles in the imminent future, everybody needs to get together and knock it all together pretty quickly."

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