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Metcalfe: Andrew's still involved

Rob Andrew will still have a role to play in the appointment of the next England head coach despite his demotion by the Rugby Football Union.

Andrew has been stripped of any involvement with England's senior team after being given the new position of professional rugby director. The RFU deny he has been demoted, but considering he has lost his highest-profile duties it is hard to view it as anything other than a reduction in his influence at Twickenham.

Professional Game Board chairman and RFU board member Ian Metcalfe accepts retaining Andrew is not without its challenges, and he said: "Rob has the experience to make a contribution to the process of choosing the interim and permanent head coach."

He added: "Rob retains the board's confidence to do the role we've asked him to and manage the process around the appointment of the interim coach.

"Rob is still in a job because he's done a lot of great things for the union over an extended period of time. But there's definitely a perception issue around Rob's involvement.

"I'm conscious of the views of the average rugby supporter, many of whom don't understand the role he plays or have confidence in what he does. We as a union need to deal with that perception. It's a challenge."

The RFU's board of directors met on Wednesday to discuss and approve the recommendations made by the PGB's review into England's World Cup fiasco.

England will name a permanent head coach in time for next year's summer tour to South Africa with an interim appointment overseeing the RBS 6 Nations.

The demise of the director of elite rugby role previously held by Andrew rules out the possibility of Sir Clive Woodward returning to Twickenham to fill a post many felt he was ideally suited to.

In a move that will be welcomed by potential candidates to succeed Martin Johnson - names such as Nick Mallett, Wayne Smith and Jake White - the new head coach will report directly to the chief executive and board.

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