Keen sets sights on world domination
August 15, 2012
Peter Keen is determined to challenge New Zealand's dominance on the international stage © Getty Images
The man that laid the foundations for Great Britain's gold medal glory at the 2012 Olympics is determined to replicate that success with the England rugby team.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced earlier this week that former UK Sport performance director Peter Keen, who developed the structures that produced 19 gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and a remarkable 29 in London in recent weeks, and Sir Ian McGeechan, one of the most respected minds in rugby, will review all aspects of the senior England side in the coming months with the aim of getting them on track for Rugby World Cup glory in 2015.
McGeechan has since expressed his desire to tap into Team GB's success and Keen has now echoed those sentiments."I have been asked by an organisation who want to win to come in and see how it can be improved," Keen told PA Sport. "The brief is: how are we going to win?
"They have in their world the unbelievable, iconic history of the All Blacks. In New Zealand's world it is possible to win 82% of Test matches and that is what you are aiming for. Bring it on."
The review will look at management structures and whether both the system and the people running it are maximising the talent available. "What is succeeding in high performance sport is the willingness to do your part for the athletes we have to serve," Keen said.
"I am there to try and help them win and it starts and finishes on the pitch. What players have you got? How are you developing them? How are you motivating them? How are you supporting and challenging them?
"You work back from the win. It is about the right roles, the right clarity and responsibilities all built around 'what does a winning team look like when it takes the pitch'? If you haven't got the right people where are you going to find them? If you have got them and you aren't winning, why not?
"At its heart this is a very simple thing. It just needs people to be willing to sometimes admit they got it wrong, commit to working together for the athletes because when they get it right everything else looks pretty good."
The review was initiated in the wake of England's most recent failed bid for World Cup glory that was plagued by off-the-field woe. "Everybody wants to write that this is a great trawl through the dark cupboards of the RFU," Keen said. "The people I have met from (chief executive) Ian Ritchie down, I see no evidence that is how they think. They are looking forward."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures