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RFU ready to pay for best coaches

The Rugby Football Union are ready to break the bank in their quest to assemble the "very best" England coaching team.

Nick Mallett is clearly the preferred choice to succeed Martin Johnson, with Wednesday's overhaul of the RFU's structure removing any obstacles to his appointment. The RFU have vowed to take their time determining the outstanding candidates, setting next summer's tour to South Africa as the only deadline.

Aiding the search is a strong balance sheet - the RFU recently posted a record £8.7million profit - and acting chief executive Stephen Brown said: "We have an extremely strong commercial and financial base. That puts us in a very good position to pay for the very best people we can get."

He added: "Our financial results have just been published. We're not exactly in a bad position financially.

"That's one of the successes that may have been slightly missed in recent months."

A caretaker to oversee the RBS 6 Nations will be installed in the coming weeks, with England Saxons coach Stuart Lancaster the likely choice with assistance from Graham Rowntree.

The interim appointment will give the RFU breathing space to conduct their search for the team that will take England to the 2015 World Cup.

Mallett will have found the restructuring announced on Wednesday much to his liking.

The former South Africa, Italy and Stade Francais boss objected to the chain of command that previously saw the head coach report to the director of elite rugby - Rob Andrew - and not to the chief executive.

But with Andrew being stripped of any involvement with the senior team, the contact between head coach and chief executive will now be direct. The move brings England into line with most other major nations and will undoubtedly increase the appeal of the biggest job in world rugby.


From Belfast Telegraph