English Rugby
Woodward leaves door open for RFU return
ESPNscrum Staff
August 18, 2011

Former England supremo Sir Clive Woodward has not ruled out a return to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) but insists he will not consider a move before the 2012 Olympics.

The RFU is still struggling to deal with the fallout from a turbulent year that culminated with the resignation of chief executive John Steele in June after just a few short months in the post due to his handling of the recruitment of a performance director. Woodward had been heavily linked with the role but lost interest when his interview was delayed and the RFU management board suddenly changed the job description to take out any involvement in the running of the England team.

Amid the turmoil, Woodward reaffirmed his commitment to his current role as director of elite performance at the British Olympic Association but has not been put off returning to the organisation post-2012. "No it hasn't put me off at all," said Woodward, who was appearing at the Sports Journalists' Association lunch on Fleet Street today.

"They have gone through difficult times but there are some really good people there who I know well. They will not be proud of what has happened over the last few months but they will come through. I've always said that I would be here at the BOA until 2012.

"Even if the rugby job had come to fruition then for me it would have been something I might be interested in after 2012. There was never any doubt that any new job I'd start would come after 2012. I've spent five years getting ready for this (the Olympics) and I want to see that through. I'll re-evaluate where I am after that."

Woodward has been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Steele, but he insists he would not be interested in taking the vacant chief executive's job. "My expertise is what I do now - coaching and performance," he added. "It's nice for people to say that but I will not be applying for the chief executive's role of the RFU."

Woodward, who currently works with coaches of all Britain's Olympic sports, admits he misses being part of rugby, but is happy to stay in his current role due to the attraction of being involved in a home Olympics. "I'm really enjoying the job. It's one removed from coaching. There's not quite the buzz of the changing room but I can always go back to that," he said.

Woodward will take a two-week break from his job next month to fly to New Zealand to watch the man who captained his team to glory in 2003 - Martin Johnson - try to emulate him by winning the World Cup as coach. Woodward hopes the recent defeat to Wales will serve as a wake-up call for the team, who he thinks have a good chance of winning the Webb Ellis trophy.

"If you speak to any team they will all say that they do not want to be playing England in a World Cup," Woodward added. "England have a good history in the competition now. It's a good team, a strong group of players.

"I think Saturday's game could just be a big wake-up call. It's a very simple game. They are not there to entertain, they are there to win the game. They will get through Saturday. It will set them back a little bit but no more than that."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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