Andrew falls foul of office clean-up
January 7, 2011
"It wasn't me, John. I don't use the photocopier." © Getty Images
The RFU have completed a highly-detailed four month report on the state of English rugby and made a host of recommendations to help move the game forward prior to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
In announcing the report's findings and recommendations, RFU chief executive John Steele has also strongly condemned the 'culture of disrespect' he feels is holding back England's rugby progress.
The RFU commissioned the report to help put in place structures that will allow England to regain the William Webb Ellis trophy. Among the high profile changes is a scrapping of the director of elite rugby position currently filled by Rob Andrew.
Steele has also made public several of the report's key findings, including details that may be highly embarrassing to certain groups and individuals within English rugby.
"If we want English rugby to progress and take on the world we need to put our own house in order," Steele said. "We carried out a thorough review of every aspect of English rugby - everything and everyone from the national coach to the cleaning lady in my office at Twickenham was looked at. Changes must be made and they must be made quickly. And boy, oh boy, do we need to start winning on the field. Also, Doris the cleaner needs to start hoovering up properly behind my filing cabinets and not just doing the bits on the side."
While the decision to scrap Andrew's role has been the most high-profile outcome of the report, there are many other shocking and controversial findings.
"We started by looking at Rob Andrew's performance," said Aled Edwards, head of Redline Management Consultants, appointed by Steele to head the investigation. "Firstly, we quickly discovered that he was always using up the paper in the office photocopier and never replaced it when it ran out. This meant other staff members were always finding the copier empty when they went to use it and had to source their own paper, causing unnecessary administrative delays. Indeed, at least once a week Andrew would leave the copier with a nasty paper jam and run off leaving other colleagues in a pickle."
RFU officials have confirmed that Andrew's inconsiderate behaviour didn't end there either. It seems the former Wasps and Falcons fly-half was forever putting banana peels and apple cores in the paper recycling bins.
"It's frustrating when people make the effort to sort their waste and help out the planner and someone comes along and throws in the wrong kind of rubbish and ruins the whole thing," Edwards said. "It may seem a small thing, but if you let this kind of thing go in English rugby the next thing you know the head coach is turning a blind eye to that flanker who is forever missing fitness tests. From small acorns grow great trees. There has to be a zero tolerance policy in all aspects of RFU work."
Steele also slammed examples of poor practice on the training field, which could be a huge hindrance to England's hopes of reclaiming their world crown:
"We found many players are acting incredibly selfishly at national squad sessions," he said. "For example, there seems to be a core of players who grab lots of training balls during a warm up and have a little kick around among themselves. The problem is when they miskick a ball over a wall or behind some trees they simply leave it and grab another one from the ball bag.
"Those balls are often lost forever because a few players are too lazy to bother collecting them. We estimate we lose about 1.7 balls on average per national training session during a season. It also seems that at least 67% of national training sessions conclude with the dressing room lights left on after the last player has headed home. In the current economic climate that is unacceptable and a slap in the face of our paying supporters."
Martin Johnson has been told to lay down the law to his players and ensure such wastefulness does not continue.
"I wish I could say the ball wasting was an isolated incident," Steele said. "But our investigators found more examples of a lack of a respect. Over 74 pieces of chewing gum was found stuck underneath the benches in the home dressing rooms at Twickenham. I couldn't believe it. How disgusting.
"A few international players tried to blame it on reckless club players who appear in cup finals and play-offs here, but there is no way, statistically, all those gums came just from club players. If they want DNA testing to exonerate themselves they have to pay for it, we don't have the funds at the moment. And we also found some graffiti, clearly etched with a loose stud, in one of the toilet cubicles. I won't even repeat what it said. But it is clear we are never going to claim the Webb Ellis Cup with such a bunch of slovenly youths playing for England. This would never have happened in Sir Clive Woodward's day, you know.
"The 2015 World Cup is in England. The eyes of the rugby world will be on us. We need to make sure that our stadiums are up to scratch, our team is the best in the world and that visiting dignitaries don't get chewing gum stuck to their trousers at Twickenham."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The East Terrace (www.theeastterrace.com) offers an offside view of life in the rugby world
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies