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RFU considers change to review process
ESPNscrum Staff
January 18, 2012
The Rugby Football Union's operations director director Rob Andrew addresses the media, England press conference, Auckland, New Zealand, October 9, 2011
Rob Andrew's role at the RFU came in for scrutiny after the World Cup © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Ian Ritchie | Rob Andrew | Stuart Lancaster
Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations
Teams: England

Rob Andrew has confirmed that the Rugby Football Union are going to consider changing their review process into tournament's following the damaging World Cup campaign and the subsequent leaked reports.

Damning excerpts from reviews compiled by the RFU, Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players' Association were published in The Times. "We are looking at whether the process is right," RFU elite rugby director Andrew said. "The process has been damaged and people's reputations have been damaged. We have to be careful how we manage the information in confidence.

"It is a valuable process. We have to regain the trust of the players and make it something they want to take part in."

The investigation into who leaked the reports is nearing a conclusion. But RFU acting chief executive Stephen Brown admitted that even when investigators uncover the culprit, he or she may never be named publicly.

"We are all under investigation - anyone who touched the report," Brown said. "The company we have used to conduct this investigation are close to a conclusion. We don't know the outcome of that.

"What I would say is, it's extremely unfortunate that anyone would choose to leak confidential documents and I don't think it just reflects on the players - three reports were leaked so it reflects on everyone who participated in them."

The reports contained critical comments about some England coaches and about the culture within squad - two things that are being addressed by the RFU. A firm of head-hunters has been appointed to help the recruitment process for the new permanent England head coach while Stuart Lancaster, who holds the job on an interim basis, has set about reforming the culture of the squad. Lancaster has been praised for his contribution to the RFU's so-called "reputational damage repair plan", which also includes engaging with sponsors who were concerned by the image of English rugby after 2011.

The RFU endured a turbulent year off the field in 2011 and a year that began with an RBS 6 Nations title ended in scandal following England's World Cup debacle.

"We have worked on a reputational damage rebuild plan since the Rugby World Cup," said Sophie Goldschmidt, the RFU's chief commercial officer. "We know how important the [England] team is to everything we are trying to do and we've worked very closely with Stuart Lancaster in particular.

"He has already spoken about some of the cultural areas he is looking to change and improve and that has been tied in very closely with the commercial department in terms of what we want to represent as a brand and what our commercial partners expect from us.

"I think they were surprised by the extent of some of what happened [at the World Cup and afterwards]. Clearly they want to see that we are learning from it and putting different measures in place to try to avoid similar incidents happening again.

"To have Stuart leading from the front and championing it has been fantastic. That is definitely having a discernible impact from the feedback I've been getting."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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