Rob Andrew backs John Steele to stay on as RFU chief

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Andrew backs Steele to keep post

Rob Andrew, the Rugby Football Union's director of operations, insists chief executive John Steele remains the right person to lead the organisation.

Steele had to reverse his decision to alter the new performance director role after a vote at an emergency meeting of the RFU board.

"There is a lot going on at the RFU. John has been brought in specifically to lead that change," said Andrew.

"Certainly, as far as I am concerned, [he is the man to take us forward]."

The performance director is the the final and most controversial post to be filled as part of the RFU's management restructuring.

The original job description for the role included a reference to responsibility for all representative teams, up to and including the senior team.

The job description was "clarified" to remove the senior team from the performance director's remit, before the board convened to overrule the management board and restore it to the post's list of responsibilities three days later.

The wrangling within the organisation has been seen as a battle over the possible return of Sir Clive Woodward to Twickenham.

Woodward, currently director of elite performances at the British Olympic Association, won the 2003 Rugby World Cup as coach and is thought unlikely to take up a role without the chance to influence the elite side.

Andrew admitted that the RFU's search for candidates would be reviewed.

"The board will move on and work out why things happened like they did last week," he added.

"Clearly when you are trying to make big change, confidentiality across any organisation is critical and it appears there have been issue with it here."

Andrew, who was speaking at the launch of the London leg of the IRB Rugby Sevens World Series, would not be drawn on when a performance director would finally be appointed.

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