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RFU to scrap controversial post

The controversial role of Rugby Football Union performance director could be scrapped, the governing body announced on Friday night after a day of high drama at Twickenham.

After an eight-hour long meeting at the home of rugby, the RFU council voted in favour of publishing Judge Jeff Blackett's damning report into the handling of the recruitment of a performance director. The saga took a new twist when the RFU council proposed that the role should be scrapped and two different positions are now planned instead.

Paul Murphy, who was appointed RFU chairman on Friday, said: "The council recommends a joint responsibility of a professional rugby director and also a development director rather than just a performance director. This will now go to the Professional Game Board for consultation. The board will then make a final decision on September 14."

Sir John Steele left his post as chief executive after the botched search for a person to fill the position. Steele left his post after coming under fire for changing the job description of the role and then reverting to the post's original specification within days.

RFU favourite Sir Clive Woodward was interested in taking over the role but withdrew his application after the union's embarrassing U-turn came amid reports of a boardroom power struggle at Twickenham.

In another dramatic twist to the damaging saga, acting chief executive Martyn Thomas had to survive a vote of no confidence tabled against him by the council. Thomas had been against the release of Blackett's report as it is thought to be highly critical of his role in the recruitment of a performance director and Steele's departure from the RFU.

He had threatened legal action, but Murphy has revealed that all parties are now happy for the document to be published.

"There is no pending legal action. The report will be out in the public domain. Now everyone has agreed it can be published. We will produce it by the end of September," he said.

Murphy hopes the publication of Blackett's report will be the end of the union's much-publicised troubles.

"We hope this is the beginning of closure of this issue now," he added. "We want to be focused on supporting the England team in New Zealand at the World Cup. We recognise there have been a few mistakes but we need to move on."


From Belfast Telegraph