FOUR IN THE RUNNING

It is widely thought that there are only two candidates for the vacant England manager/head coach vacancy. It is generally thought that the next man to take to role on a full time basis will be either Stuart Lancaster or Nick Mallett.

Ian Ritchie, the RFU’s new Chief Executive has though revealed that there are two others in consideration for the job.

One of these further two is expected to be Sir Clive Woodward. It is easy to see why, he took England to new heights, winning the World Cup and Grand Slam in 2003 and building the team that would go on to reach a second consecutive final in 2007. His current role with the BOA is set to end after this year’s Olympics and this could be a chance for a return to the game that made him what he is.

The mention of Woodward’s name alone will be enough to destabilise the RFU and the thought of how split the organisation would become if he were to return is a major factor in the argument against his return. There is talk of Woodward returning in a management role to work alongside Lancaster as head coach. This again though seems unlikely though. With Lancaster having drawn up his plans for the next three years should he be appointed, and those plans do not include a place for a high profile manager such as Woodward.

The Mallett v Lancaster debate is also polarising opinions within the RFU and the game as a while. The two main arguments being that experience is necessary, which did not seem to be an issue in the appointment of Martin Johnson, this would if seen as relevant count in favour of Nick Mallet. Whereas the argument that the job should be filled by an Englishman, counting in favour of Lancaster, the current favourite according to the latest rugby odds.

Both of these arguments are in reality though irrelevant. Whichever man, whichever setup the RFU go for will have to be based solely on who is the right man for the job. Whether this be Lancaster, Mallett or even Woodward then so be it. Whoever it is will need to full unified backing of the RFU and the English nation.