Greenwood: RFU right to wait for boss

FORMER England centre Will Greenwood believes the Rugby Football Union is right to delay naming a permanent successor to Martin Johnson until after the Six Nations.

The RFU confirmed on Wednesday its intention to appoint a caretaker manager, which would seemingly pave the way for former Italy head coach Nick Mallett to take over ahead of this summer’s tour of his native South Africa.

With the RFU still searching for a new chief executive, Greenwood, a World Cup winner in 2003, believes it makes sense to delay matters.

“It’s a great idea to get a caretaker in while we wait for the appointment of a new CEO,” he told City A.M. at an event to promote tomorrow’s Heroes Rugby Challenge for injured servicemen and women. “We’ve got to get the right man in the job, get the process in place and get him surrounded by the people he wants.” Greenwood believes the RFU cannot afford to be parochial in its search for a new chief executive and should ideally appoint someone without a rugby background.

He added: “The CEO doesn’t necessarily need a rugby background – in fact I think it would better if he didn’t have one. Get in a powerful businessman who knows how to purge and transform an organisation that for the most part is in good shape, but one where it’s obvious certain areas need tidying up.

“We need to make sure the focus isn’t on the Saxons or the England Under-20s, it’s about the being the best. We need the top team. It’s about playing well and competing with Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. In our own hemisphere it’s impossible to ignore the improvement Wales have made and, for all their struggles, France lost a World Cup final by a single point.

“We’ve moved significantly down the pecking order. The focus must be to get the first team back at the top.”