World Cup winner Will Greenwood has called for rugby’s governing bodies to reassess their disciplinary procedures to avoid a repeat of England prop Joe Marler’s “gypsy boy” saga.
Former England centre Greenwood believes World Rugby and Six Nations organisers should have delivered a coherent message over Marler’s contentious comment towards Wales prop Samson Lee earlier this month.
Marler, who apologised for the jibe at half-time of the Six Nations win over Wales, could still be banned at a World Rugby hearing on Tuesday – 24 days after the incident – despite Six Nations chiefs and England’s Rugby Football Union deeming the case closed.
“In an ideal world, World Rugby and citing commissioners should be aligned in what they feel,” Greenwood told City A.M.
“That’s the most important thing, to get a consistent message across quickly and fairly. As [England coach] Eddie Jones said, it should have been dealt with in a coherent fashion by the end of the Sunday evening so that everyone was fully aware of what would take place over the course of the next week.
“That’s what’s important, for World Rugby and independent citing commissioners to come up with a standard procedure that gets these things sorted out as quickly as possible.”
Greenwood, who retired in 2006, joined the England squad in an informal coaching capacity for the Grand Slam-winning Six Nations campaign, sparking speculation he could rejoin them on their summer tour of Australia. But despite stepping up his coaching ambitions by agreeing to take co-charge of the Barbarians later this year, he insists an England role is not on the agenda.
“It’s not something I’ve really considered or broached because it’s not something that’s going to happen,” he said. “I enjoy the coaching I do at the moment. If there’s a ball to be thrown about and a word of advice, whether it be mental or physical, I find myself on a pitch two or three times a week where I can. There’s been no sort of formal approach from any higher corridors of power at the moment.”
Further collaboration with Jones may not be on the cards, but Greenwood has agreed to work with another former Australia boss Robbie Deans to lead the Barbarians against South Africa in November. Otherwise, he says insists he is happy in the grassroots game and, as part of NatWest’s RugbyForce campaign, will soon be acting as an honorary board member to a grassroots club.
“Grassroots is in good health,” said Greenwood. “But there can always be more done to attract an increased number of volunteers and supporters to keep coming through the door. Sustainability projects are vital because on the back of a World Cup and on the back of a Grand Slam we need to take advantage of what’s going in the rugby world.”
Will Greenwood is a NatWest RugbyForce 2016 Legend, bringing his playing and business experience to help grassroots clubs become more sustainable. To register for a chance to have Will join your rugby club’s board visit www.englandrugby.com/natwestrugbyforce