Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Steele to recommend changes to RFU

Rugby union

Rugby Football Union chief executive John Steele is expected to recommend significant changes to the structure of the organisation on Wednesday.

Steele launched a comprehensive review of the RFU, from grass-roots to governance, when he replaced Francis Baron in charge at Twickenham four months ago.

The former UK Sport boss set out to strengthen the management of the RFU in preparation for hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup and he will present his plans to the management board on Wednesday.

Steele's recommendations will not impact on Martin Johnson and the England coaching team but an RFU spokesman said that "tough decisions" have been taken at executive level.

Rob Andrew's position as England's elite rugby director is one of those to have come under the microscope. Andrew is not expected to leave the RFU but it is likely his role will be redefined.

Should Steele's plan be approved then a new position in the elite department would also be created - a role it is understood would suit a figure like Sir Clive Woodward.

England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach is currently performance director at the British Olympic Association. Eddie Jones, the former Australia head coach and Woodward's former sparring partner, has also expressed an interest should such a position become available.

The RFU have already announced the departure of business operations director Paul Vaughan, who is taking over as chief executive of England Rugby 2015. Terry Burwell, the RFU's competitions and tournament director, has also been linked with a role at the World Cup organising company.

An RFU spokesman said: "This has been a comprehensive review. John has had to make some tough decisions and there will be significant change.

"The point of the review was not to cut costs but to make sure the RFU is in the right organisational shape as we enter an exciting period building towards the 2015 World Cup."