Andrew refuses to resign from RFU
November 16, 2011
Andrew's role has come under fresh criticism in light of England's failed World Cup campaign
Rob Andrew has insisted he will not go the same way as Martin Johnson and resign from his position with the Rugby Football Union.
Andrew has been in charge of the RFU's elite rugby department since 2006 and he has now overseen the departure of three England head coaches - Johnson, Brian Ashton and Andy Robinson. Johnson's decision to stand down as England manager comes on the eve of the Professional Game Board's World Cup review, where much of the focus will be on Andrew's role.
One source close to the PGB told Press Association Sport: "Rob Andrew is ultimately in charge. If it's not working then who's responsibility is it? Where does it all come back to?" But Andrew reacted angrily to questions about whether he should be considering his future at Twickenham.
"I'm absolutely not considering resigning," he said. "Martin was appointed three and a half years ago to run the England team. Martin's unit is a self-contained unit within the elite rugby department running the England team.
"That is about a fifth of the responsibilities I have in running the biggest department of the union, from a financial point of view. Absolutely (I take responsibility) in terms of the department and the structure of the professional game and that's the understanding of my role in this."
With the Six Nations looming in February and England to name an elite squad in the first week of January, Andrew's immediate task is to work on appointing a new head coach. Acting chief executive Martyn Thomas said in the immediate aftermath of the World Cup that he would be prepared to make a temporary appointment for the rest of this season if it meant England securing the right man through to the 2015 World Cup.
Nick Mallett, the England-born former South Africa coach, is one contender to replace Johnson while the RFU may look at the likes of Northampton's Jim Mallinder or Conor O'Shea at Harlequins.
"We will go and look at who is next. Now the decision has been taken by Martin, we will go and find the next England head coach. Clearly we need to do that as quickly as we possibly can," Andrew said.
The final decision will be made by the RFU's management board. Johnson stressed he had not suffered from any unwanted interference from above, be it the chief executive or Andrew as the elite rugby director and his direct line manager.
"You have to answer to someone. I have been able to do the job on my terms," Johnson said. "I am not saying that to defend anyone, it is the truth."
Johnson offered to discuss the role with any candidate interested in succeeding him at Twickenham. Andrew conducted the RFU's internal World Cup review and will present his findings to the PGB, on which he sits as one of four Twickenham representatives.
The former England fly-half insisted the fact he was reviewing the performance of one section of his own department did not represent a conflict of interest. "Internal reviews happen all the time," Andrew said. "These things take time and need to be thought through carefully. They need to be constructed properly. That's what is happening at the moment.
"It is happening behind closed doors in a confidential, professional manner, which is the way these things should be done. We need to ensure that moving forward we learn the lessons that came out of the campaign. The Professional Game Board (PGB) will meet to review England's Rugby World Cup performance and Martin has obviously contributed fully to that. Out of that will come various recommendations."
PGB chairman Ian Metcalfe said after their meeting on Thursday: "The members had a robust, open and detailed discussion concerning the Rugby World Cup and considered the input presented by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), Premiership Rugby (PRL) and the Rugby Players Association (RPA). Martin Johnson attended the PGB meeting and we are very grateful for his contribution.
"Further work will be carried out in the next week and recommendations will be made to the RFU Board of Directors on November 30."
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