Independent review into Rugby Football Union structure

Sir Clive Woodward
Woodward ruled himself out of returning to the RFU earlier this year

An independent review of the entire England structure at the Rugby Football Union will take place in November.

Fran Cotton will lead a panel that will make recommendations to the RFU.

The performance of the RFU's professional rugby department will be reviewed along with Rob Andrew's report into England's World Cup campaign.

Andrew is rugby operations director and has been in charge of the England structure since the RFU failed to appoint a performance director.

It culminated in John Steele's departure as chief executive and led to another RFU management restructure.

The review could pave the way for Sir Clive Woodward to replace Andrew as head of professional rugby at the Rugby Football Union.

Martin Johnson's position as manager may also be under threat after Cotton branded England's World Cup a "failure".

Andrew recently accepted the position of professional rugby director but the new position is yet to be rubber-stamped.

Martin Johnson
Johnson's England crashed out against France in the quarter-finals

Cotton's panel will have the power to recommend their own head of professional rugby.

The former RFU vice-chairman was a leading critic of Steele's decision to change the job description of the performance director, which led to Woodward pulling out of contention.

He described the job as "probably the most important role in English rugby and world rugby".

The panel, which will make its recommendations to the RFU in December, will also have the power to recommend changes to the England team's management structure. Current boss Johnson's contract expires on 21 December.

One outcome could be the appointment of a senior England team manager who would be in charge of logistics, but also team discipline, leaving the manager to focus on rugby.

Cotton claimed England had not improved on Johnson's watch and lacked leadership.

"We were knocked out in the quarter-finals and we played poorly throughout the competition. It is a failure as far as we are concerned," the former England and British Lions prop forward told Sky Sports News.

"Martin has now been in charge three and a half years and it is very difficult to understand what style of play this England rugby team is all about.

"The basic skills of rugby at that level just aren't good enough and I haven't seen an improvement in the last three and a half years."

He also condemned Mike Tindall for being "absolutely hammered" in a bar during the campaign.

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