News In Brief
RFU creates 'Image of the Game' task group
August 28, 2009
Former England international Lawrence Dallaglio looks on during the RFU's Rugby World Cup 2015 bid, IRB Headquarters, Dublin, Ireland, May 13, 2009
Lawrence Dallaglio is one of 13 men charged with helping to clean up the game © Getty Images

  • The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has set up an 'Image of the Game' task group in response to the recent scandals which have damaged the reputation of the sport.

    The 13-man panel, which will be chaired by RFU president John Owen and also features World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio, has been charged with carrying out a "wide-ranging and thorough review" of all of the problems currently affecting the game - and then finding solutions to these problems.

    The Task Group will have its first meeting in the second week of September and it is expected to provide the RFU with a series of clear recommendations by the end of the month.

    "The RFU has been very clear that we needed to act quickly at a game-wide level to ensure that recent events can never happen again," the union's CEO, Francis Baron, said. "The Image of the Game Task Group includes the people we believe can help us do that and we will also work closely with the International Rugby Board (IRB) in support of their initiatives in this area.

    "This is not a Disciplinary panel set up to take action against clubs and players, the RFU Disciplinary process will handle that should it be necessary.

    "Nor will it be a talking shop. It will be focused on the issues at hand and actionable solutions. We will do whatever it takes to rebuild the reputation of the sport and that work starts now."

    Image of the Game Task Group members:

    John Owen, President of the RFU (Chairman of the Task Group)
    Martyn Thomas, Chairman of the RFU Management Board and IRB representative
    Francis Baron OBE, RFU Chief Executive
    Cecil Duckworth OBE, Chairman and Owner of Worcester Warriors, PRL board member
    Andrew Coppel CBE, Chairman of London Irish, PRL board member
    David Barnes, Bath RFC player and Chairman of the PRA
    Lawrence Dallaglio OBE , retired player and Board Director at Wasps, a PRL club
    His Honour Judge Jeff Blackett, RFU Disciplinary Officer
    Bob Rogers, RFU Past President and Chairman of the RFU 'Core Values' Task Group
    Peter Baines, Chairman, RFU Governance Standing Committee
    Rob Andrew MBE, RFU Elite Rugby Director
    Andrew Scoular, RFU Community Rugby Director
    Peter Thomas, RFU Corporate Communications Director

  • Further changes to the landscape of Welsh rugby could be afoot, with fledgling region Gogledd Cymru hopeful that new proposals will see their dream of Principality Premiership rugby in North Wales become a reality.

    Plans could see 14 Canadian internationals joining the squad each season to bolster playing ranks - should the idea be ratified by Rugby Canada. The strategy has been presented to the WRU by Head of Rugby Performance and Development Joe Lydon.

    "Gogledd Cymru is recognised as a club - a simple tick in the box of WRU Premiership requirements," read a club statement. "North Wales will have an academy with the responsibility for the development of North Walians and Welsh qualified Northern exiles.

    "A tripartite agreement between the WRU, IRB and Rugby Canada will result in 14 Canadian internationals joining the Gogledd Cymru squad each year from Jan-April for the next five years, subject to ratification by the board of Rugby Canada.

    "These arrangements will offer North Walian players and spectators the opportunity to experience more high quality rugby on their doorstep whilst also developing indigenous and Canadian players. By enabling Gogledd Cymru to attract and compete in high quality fixtures it will facilitate the growth of the business and fan base necessary to sustain a semi-professional side."

  • Leicester fly-half Toby Flood is on target in his bid to make his return to competitive rugby in November. The England international has been out of action since picking up a leg injury in his club's Heineken Cup semi-final win over Cardiff Blues in April.

    "The timescale is about six months and I'm inside that bracket and so we're working towards that," Flood told BBC Radio Leicester. "The rehab's gone well, but the guys are in pre-season now and to watch that from the sidelines is difficult.

    "I was out of the boot about three-and-a-half weeks ago and trying to learn how to walk again is quite difficult. I'm nearly walking without a limp and I'm looking to start jogging in early September which will be another tick on the schedule. We're getting there.

    "I want to get back as quickly as possible, but I don't want to push it."

  • Australia skills coach Richard Graham will next year divide his time between the Wallabies and Western Force. Graham will continue to work with the national side up to and including the November Tests but will then join up with the Force for next year's Super 14 campaign before returning to the Wallabies set-up for the Tri-Nations.

    ARU High Performance Unit boss David Nucifora said the novel "share services" agreement had the backing of Australia head coach Robbie Deans.

    "Robbie wants our coaches to coach as often as they can and this arrangement with the Force will give Richard an opportunity to do that in another elite environment," he said.

    "RugbyWA was keen to tap into Richard's talent and we're pleased to assist because it also suits our philosophy on the utilisation of our coaching resources. This is a shared services arrangement that will be productive to Australian Rugby Inc on a number of levels."

  • Castres' next two Top 14 games have been postponed following an outbreak of swine flu within the French side's camp.

    Six Castres players have been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, resulting in the cancellation of Saturday's clash with Montauban and Wednesday's meeting with Albi.

    This latest outbreak brings the total of French league players affected to ten, with three members of the Stade Francais squad and one player from Bayonne having been confirmed as suffering from the illness this week.

  • Paul Moriarty has confirmed that he is considering taking legal action against the Scarlets over the nature of his departure from the region.

    The former Wales international, who joined the Scarlets backroom team in 2003, stepped down as forwards coach in July and has subsequently been replaced in the position by former club captain Simon Easterby.

    However, Moriarty revealed that he is deeply unhappy with the circumstances surrounding his exit and when asked about the possibility of legal action, he replied: "It was certainly disappointing, how it (his departure) came about, and it's something that I don't know whether it's finished yet," he told the BBC.

    "I can't elaborate too much. They know that it's not finished yet and I know that it's finished yet. We just have to wait and see what everyone's findings are and which way they want to finish it… there could be (legal action), yes."

  • Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu will make his first appearance for Gloucester in Saturday's friendly against the Ospreys.

    The Samoan centre joined the Cherry and Whites from Bath earlier this summer but his arrival at Kingsholm was delayed as he was away on international duty. However, he has been named in the Gloucester midfield for the club's final pre-season fixture.

    "I've obviously played a lot of rugby in my career but I have to admit that I have a few butterflies in my stomach about Saturday," Fuimaono-Sapolu told the club's official website.

    "We're putting out a really talented back line against the Ospreys, I've got Nicky Robinson playing inside me at 10 and Mike Tindall outside me, and quality everywhere else.

    "I'm genuinely excited about the prospect of playing at Kingsholm as a Gloucester player for the first time and hope to show the supporters what I can do."


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