Luger critical of RFU
May 4, 2007

Ex-England wing Dan Luger has blasted the Rugby Football Union for giving England virtually no chance of defending the World Cup.

The Toulon star, part of the 2003 World Cup-winning set-up, believes the RFU waited too long to replace faltering head coach Andy Robinson with Brian Ashton.

Luger told Rugby News: ``I am staggered how far England have fallen. I really didn't think it would be this bad.

``I could see the team falling off the peak in 2004 because we were losing the likes of Martin Johnson, Neil Back, Richard Hill and Lawrence Dallaglio.

``But to see where they have gone is upsetting because we all believed that since 1997 we had created something as a team, the England brand. I do not see where it has all gone wrong because it was so very promising.

``But one major blunder was delaying the appointment of Ashton, who is a brilliant coach - a man who will achieve good things for England rugby.

``We go to France for the World Cup in early September. Ashton needs more time but they have given him virtually none as far as defending the trophy is concerned.

``Even if they had brought him in at the start of the season, they might have had a chance.''

Luger, 32, quit international rugby shortly after Andy Robinson succeeded Clive Woodward as England boss three years ago.

He added: ``After we won the World Cup, they had to either change the squad or the coaches because we'd had five years of the same stuff. They were just doing the same things, you get stale and bored.

``That was my main reason for quitting. England left it too late changing the coaches. The damage was done.''

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