English Rugby
Melville to apply for CEO role
ESPNscrum Staff
June 13, 2011
Gloucester coach Nigel Melville looks on from the sidelines during the Powergen Cup Final clash with Northampton Saints at Twickenham in London, England on April 5, 2003.
Is Clive Woodward about to leave his Olympic dreams behind in favour of a return to the Rugby Football Union? © Getty Images

Former England captain Nigel Melville is set to apply for the recently-vacated chief executive position at the Rugby Football Union.

Melville, who went on to coach Gloucester and Wasps, is currently president and chief executive of USA Rugby but has revealed his interest in a return to England following John Steele's high-profile departure last week after just nine months with the organisation.

In a Twitter message to RFU council member Andrew Sarek, Melville said: "I will apply for the ceo job, its what I have been doing for the last 4 years."

Steele was shown the door after losing the confidence of the RFU board in the wake of his handling of the search for a performance director. RFU chairman Martyn Thomas has already spoken to the recruitment consultant he wants to head up the search for a new chief executive.

Simon Halliday, a former RFU councillor, Malcolm Wall, who was beaten to the post by Steele, and Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty have also been mentioned as potential candidates for the job. Melville was on the RFU's early shortlist for the performance director position but withdrew from the running after deciding it was destined for Sir Clive Woodward.

Thomas has opened the door for Woodward's return to Twickenham by inviting him to get back in touch over the performance director post. Woodward walked away for the recruitment process following the RFU's indecision about whether the job would include influence over the England team. Steele cancelled Woodward's interview on March 17 and then decided to downgrade the position.

Woodward has publicly pledged his commitment to the British Olympic Association through to 2012 - but is reportedly still interested in taking up the role at Twickenham. When that was put to Thomas, he said: "If that is the case then Clive and I need to speak. Clive knows my telephone number and I would happily speak to Clive Woodward.

"You have got to respect what the man has done. This guy has a unique set of skills. He not only understands rugby at the elite end but he has developed a talent for sporting success across a variety of disciplines. You have to see him."

Thomas confirmed the RFU would not consider a job-share arrangement that would allow Woodward to remain involved with the BOA until after the 2012 Olympics, as had been mooted. "We need a man that has a skill set that is 100% committed to putting England back to where they need to be," said Thomas.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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