Rob Andrew claims Sir Clive Woodward’s 2003 World Cup-winning coaching team left the England side in a “terrible state”.

rob-andrew.jpgRugby Football Union elite performance director Andrew believes a lack of foresight was to blame for England’s terrible form in the aftermath of their Sydney triumph five years ago, when Woodward stepped down and Andy Robinson, who had worked under him, endured a thoroughly miserable spell as his successor.

Andrew will deliver a progress report to RFU bosses at Twickenham on Thursday.

He told the Daily Mail: “Without naming names, I do want to make the point that the 2003 World Cup coaching team effectively left no legacy to the English game.

“As a result, the elite end of the sport in this country was in a terrible state.”

He added: “I have no wish to personalise the issue.

“There was no structure, no real long-term planning, no development strategy. When the edifice fell over after the 2003 World Cup, there was nothing behind it.”


Lawrence Dallaglio has been suspended for a week by his club Wasps.

Wasps launched an investigation after their captain was cited for allegedly striking Leicester prop Julian White during last Saturday’s EDF Energy Cup semi-final at the Millennium Stadium.

Dallaglio, who faces a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing in London next Tuesday as a result, will now miss Wasps’ Guinness Premiership appointment with Leicester this weekend.

The former England captain’s club ban took effect two days ago.

Wasps say they are satisfied there was no intention or malice on Dallaglio’s part, although his actions did infringe the relevant International Rugby Board rule.

The club also took into account what they describe as Dallaglio’s “exemplary previous disciplinary history.”

dallaglio.jpgDallaglio said: “I accept the sanction of a week’s suspension from playing for my club.

“I acknowledge that my actions infringed the rules, although I wish to stress that they were unintentional and without any malice.

“I have extended my apologies to Julian White.

“I hope that I can now draw a line under this incident and enjoy playing out the rest of my final season.”

Dallaglio, 35, will retire from all rugby next month following a glittering career that saw him help England win the 2003 World Cup.

He won 85 caps – only Jason Leonard is above him on England’s all-time list – in addition to touring three times with the Lions.

Wasps are currently battling to reach the Guinness Premiership play-off positions in their quest for a fourth league title in six seasons.

They have seven games left, and a high Premiership finish is now their solitary route into next season’s Heineken Cup after making an early European exit this term and bowing out of EDF contention against Leicester.


Saracens star Glen Jackson has placed the soaraway Ospreys in exalted company – by comparing them with Super 14 giants Canterbury Crusaders.

Jackson and his team-mates were grounded by the Ospreys in last Saturday’s EDF Energy Cup semi-final – in which they suffered a 30-3 Millennium Stadium mauling.

It put the Ospreys, whose squad is packed with more than a dozen Wales Grand Slam stars and overseas talent like Jackson’s fellow New Zealanders Justin Marshall and Marty Holah, into next month’s Twickenham final against Leicester.

pinder.jpgBut the Welsh region are also chasing a much bigger prize this season – Heineken Cup glory.

Saracens now block their path again on April 6, when they host the Ospreys in a quarter-final clash at Vicarage Road.

Saracens face a huge task, avenging their defeat in Cardiff – which was largely inspired by the brilliance of Wales backs Shane Williams and Gavin Henson.

Fly-half Jackson has no doubt the Ospreys are among the best sides he has played against – in northern and southern hemispheres.

He said: “They went into the game on a high following the Grand Slam. But that aside, I still think they are one of the best teams I have played against – both here and in New Zealand.

“They are very well-drilled and they have excellent players across the pitch.

“I would liken them very much to the Canterbury Crusaders. You play up against a very well-organised wall all day – and then when you make a mistake, they take full advantage.”

The Crusaders won five Super 12 titles between 1998 and 2005, and they also landed the inaugural Super 14 crown in 2006.


ashton.jpgTwickenham top brass today assembled for a meeting that could ultimately decide Brian Ashton’s future as England head coach.The Rugby Football Union management board gathered to hear Rob Andrew’s review of the 2008 RBS 6 Nations campaign, when England finished second – their best performance since 2003.

RFU elite rugby director Andrew will present a report that comes just three months after he completed his detailed assessment of the 2007 World Cup performances and recommended Ashton, plus his coaching lieutenants John Wells and Mike Ford, continue in their posts.

The giant figure of former England captain Martin Johnson, though, is now lurking.

Johnson, England’s victorious 2003 World Cup captain, met with Andrew last week to discuss a possible managerial role.

Ashton has long coveted a team manager to work within the England set-up, yet someone who would have administrative responsibilities, rather than a say in major issues like selection.

Ashton’s preferred choice is thought to be former Bath and England captain Phil de Glanville, but it is inconceivable Johnson would accept such a job without having key decision-making powers covering areas like team selection and appointing coaches.

Should Andrew recommend Johnson’s appointment – and it is approved by the management board – then Ashton could find himself behind the eight-ball.

While Andrew could recommend Ashton continues as head coach, Ashton is likely to find it impossible working as part of a structure that also includes Johnson.

Whatever unfolds at Twickenham today – there is no guarantee that decisions will be reached before the planned close around 5pm – Ashton has been treated shabbily.

Despite leading England to second-placed finishes in the World Cup and Six Nations, there is an RFU faction that do no want him in charge.