Sir Clive Woodward Describes RFU As ‘Laughing Stock Of World Rugby’


Former World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward has described the English RFU as the “laughing stock of world rugby.”

Woodward, who led England to World Cup glory in 2003, says he sympathises with Sam Burgess, who on Thursday announced he was returning to the NRL following less than a year at Bath. Burgess was fast-tracked into the England team ahead of the World Cup and played in the ill-fated defeat by Wales.

He also describes current head coach of the England national team, Stuart Lancaster, as not having the right experience to hold such a lofty position in the game.

Regarding the decision by Burgess to return to Australia to play for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Woodward told the Daily Mail: “Sam is not to blame for this mess and I stand by it.

England's Sam Burgess chats with head coach Stuart Lancaster

“But with his return to rugby league we’ve reached one of the all-time lows and most embarrassing points in English rugby history.

“The RFU has spent the last four years congratulating itself on the direction in which we’re heading but the truth is we have marched confidently into a total mess. But I wish Sam all the best.

“The review after the 2011 World Cup was a shambles. Players and coaches let down by media leaks, good men exposed as scapegoats and lesser men hiding and shirking responsibility. Nothing has changed.”

As for the appointment of Lancaster, Woodward did not pull any punches.

“The panel chosen to identify Martin Johnson’s successor somehow selected Stuart Lancaster, a coach lacking any true coaching experience at any level to prepare our national team for a home World Cup.

Stuart Lancaster (second left) with England coaches Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and Mike Catt

“Since then Lancaster and his team have been left exposed, as he and the RFU chose not to add any further expertise.

“The result was England failing to grasp what was required to challenge at the World Cup. After a second poor tournament in a row, the errors continue, illustrated by the personnel chosen to review Lancaster and England.

“We are the laughing stock of not only world rugby but also sport and business. The rest of the world says those involved in English rugby are arrogant.

“I hate this reputation but that is exactly what the RFU have been. The saddest part is the players and fans have been let down. To get it right on the field of play you have to get it right off the field.”

Source: Sky Sports

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