Andrew would work alongside Woodward
March 23, 2011
Rob Andrew and Steve Grainger are unveiled by John Steele © Getty Images
Newly-appointed RFU operations director Rob Andrew has confirmed that he would have no problem working alongside Sir Clive Woodward, should England's Rugby World Cup-winning coach be named as the union's performance director.
Andrew's previous role as director of elite rugby was scrapped in a wide-ranging shake-up by RFU chief executive John Steele, with the elite department and the RFU's community arm brought together in a single entity, which was in turn divided into three areas: performance, operations and development.
Steve Grainger, currently chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, has been appointed as the new rugby development director in charge of the community game.
The recruitment process for the performance job, the highest-profile of the three, has been delayed by the lengthy interview process which requires candidates to give up nearly two days of their time.
Woodward, currently in charge of elite performance at the British Olympic Association, has been strongly linked with the position but he and Andrew have not seen eye to eye since Andrew was preferred for his previous job in 2006.
"I will work with whoever is appointed because the process they will have gone through will prove they are capable of working in a team structure," Andrew said. "I am very comfortable with what might happen. I am very comfortable with the way I work. That is how I have operated to get us to where we are now and I will continue to do so.
"This is about reshaping the RFU and putting rugby right at the centre of the organisation. This is a great opportunity and a great challenge. I see this as a career progression for me personally and hopefully use my experience to pull things together so when we are coming out of the 2015 World Cup we have a huge platform that this is a union that is delivering for those involved in rugby."
Steele reserved praise for Andrew's contribution in recent years. England are currently Six Nations champions for the first time since 2003 while their Under-20s counterparts are Grand Slam champions. The Under-18s have lost one game in three years.
Andrew also played a key role in negotiating the English Qualified Player (EQP) scheme and an eight-year deal with the Aviva Premiership clubs to secure England additional access to their elite players (EPS).
"Rob has done an incredible job in the last few years. When he came into this role as elite performance director there was a lot to be done, a considerable amount," Steele said. "He has developed some structures and processes and developed an environment that is now allowing our England team to perform in the way we want to see them perform. What I am now asking him to do is extend that challenge to the whole of the game. This model has never been seen before in world rugby."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'