Sir Clive Woodward cool on link to RFU role

Sir Clive Woodward
Woodward coached England to World Cup glory in 2003

Sir Clive Woodward has dismissed reports linking him with the role of performance director at the Rugby Football Union.

Woodward, England coach from 1997 to 2004, is currently the British Olympic Association's director of elite performance ahead of London 2012.

"It's just speculation," the 55-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I'm very happy with my job at the BOA and we're looking forward to a great year leading up to the Olympics."

His comments come a few days after the RFU released a statement which read: "These [reports] are incorrect and are based on rumour and speculation, not fact."

The newly-created role will oversee England team manager Martin Johnson and is part of a shake-up of the elite department by RFU chief executive John Steele.

Rob Andrew has already been named director of rugby operations, with Steve Grainger coming in as development director.

Former Australia coach Eddie Jones, ex-South Africa coach Jake White, current Northampton boss Jim Mallinder, Italy's Nick Mallett and USA Rugby president Nigel Melville have also been suggested as possible candidates.

"We continue to run the same open recruitment process for this role as we have for all the other senior roles at the RFU and candidates were invited to apply," the RFU statement added.

"We are pleased to say they did so and we have a strong shortlist who will go forward to the next stage but we will not comment on any individual people who may or may not have applied for the role as it remains a confidential process.

"We can say, as we recently confirmed, that we would expect to make an announcement by the end of May at the latest.

"We recognise that the media will continue to speculate but we are not in a position to disclose more details at the current time."

Woodward led England to World Cup glory in 2003 but resigned 10 months later.

A spell at Southampton Football Club followed before he accepted his position within the BOA in 2006.

"We have an outstanding management team at the BOA and it is no surprise they are in demand," BOA chairman Moynihan commented.

"Clive is doing a great job in the run-up to the Olympic Games and will, I hope, stay with us."

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