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Lapasset critical of RFU dispute

International Rugby Board president Bernard Lapasset has labelled this summer's Rugby Football Union civil war as bad for the image of the game in England.

The RFU went into meltdown in June when John Steele was ousted as CEO over the botched appointment of an elite performance director. Chairman Martyn Thomas resigned a month later following the pubication of an internal review into Steele's sacking, over which he had initially threatened legal action.

The double mutiny has left the RFU with a huge void to fill at the top of the organisation just less than two months before they are due to take responsibility for England's hosting of the 2015 World Cup and Lapasset said of the saga: "It's probably bad for the image of rugby football in England and the community around."

He added: "Unions sometimes have troubles.

"In Wales, before the World Cup in 2007, it was in trouble with the provinces there.

"Now the result is the Welsh Rugby Union is very on top."

Lapasset was confident the boardroom bloodletting would not impact on England's hosting of the World Cup.

"It's important that we manage good, solid and robust leadership in the union," he said.

"But, for the IRB, we are very confident of the success of the tournament.

"Because we know the RFU is a strong union, it's a strong rugby country. It's a rugby country, not just on the top, but with all structures behind, the clubs, the academies, the players, the structure of the professional leagues."

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