Andrew axed as RFU opens door to Woodward

ENGLISH chiefs have begun the search for a performance director in a move that opens the door for the possible return of World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward.

Former South Africa boss Jake White and Australian Eddie Jones are also leading contenders for the new role, while elite director Rob Andrew has seen his role scrapped. The moves are part of a wide-ranging shake-up of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced yesterday at the behest of new chief executive John Steele.

Andrew will remain in his current position for several months while the RFU recruits, and has been invited to apply for the job of operations director. The dissolution of his role, however, means that he is no longer the man to whom England team manager Martin Johnson reports.

All eyes are now on whom the RFU will choose to oversee the senior side, with Woodward, White and Jones the early frontrunners for the performance director post.

Woodward famously masterminded England’s success at the 2003 World Cup, in which Johnson was his inspirational captain.

White also led the Springboks to the trophy, coincidentally beating England in the 2007 final, and has made his interest in the job known.

So too has Jones, who was technical advisor White four years ago and coached the Australia team that lost in the final to Woodward’s England.

Andrew said he would consider the role of operations director, adding: “I am very excited about the future of the game in England, and the re-structuring that will place rugby at the heart of everything the RFU does.”

THE CANDIDATES

Sir Clive Woodward Perfectly suited but doubts over whether he’d leave similar role with British Olympics Association so close to 2012

Jake White Another World Cup winner, the South African has thrown his hat into the ring

Eddie Jones Credited as brains behind SA’s 2007 win and says he’s “definitely” interested