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Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Rob Andrew becomes RFU director of rugby operations


Andrew impressed by England's achievements

Rob Andrew has been named as the Rugby Football Union's new director of rugby operations, while Steve Grainger is named development director.

Andrew's previous position as elite rugby director had been made redundant.

The elite department has been split into performance, operations and development departments after a shake-up by chief executive John Steele.

England World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward has been linked with the role of performance director.

However, the recruitment process for that position has been delayed by a couple of months as several key candidates have so far been unable to complete the interview process.

Woodward was England coach from 1997 until 2004 and is currently the British Olympic Association's director of elite performance.

This is a massive role across the whole of rugby

Rob Andrew on his new position

Andrew, a former England and British and Irish Lions fly-half, was invited to apply for the operations role and came through a competitive selection process.

"This is a massive role across the whole of rugby," said Andrew of his new job.

"I am looking forward to working very closely with the new rugby directors and executive team to shape the RFU going towards the World Cup in 2015."

His new position will include responsibility for overseeing tournaments and competitions, referee and coach development as well as sports science and medicine, and player welfare.

His previous role focused on the elite England teams and Andrew negotiated the English Qualified Player (EQP) scheme as well as a deal with the Premiership clubs to secure England additional access to players.

Andrew will maintain responsibility for managing the Elite Player Squad agreement and the EQP scheme.

"I am excited by the opportunity to maintain many of my key responsibilities at the RFU and to add new ones to my remit," added Andrew.

Martin Johnson
Johnson is set to discuss a contract extension after the 2011 World Cup

Andrew admitted to BBC Sport that he did not know who was in contention for the role of performance director, but said he was happy to work with whoever is appointed, including Woodward.

The pair have criticised each other in the media since Andrew was preferred for the elite rugby director's job in 2006 but the former Newcastle director of rugby described his relationship with Woodward as "fine".

Andrew said: "My whole life has been around putting teams together and making sure people work together and I could not have achieved what I have achieved with the elite rugby director role and the Premiership in particular without being able to work with people.

"The recruitment process will mean the performance director will fit the job description in terms of working with teams and working with people."

Steele told BBC Sport he hopes Andrew can now build on the work he has done as elite director since 2006.

"Rob has done a great job," said Steele. "Four years ago the structure of the elite department here at the Union and in the game was in a very different state to what it is now and Rob has played a huge role in making that happen. He has created a great platform and deserves a lot of credit for that.

"The new role is extremely exciting. It is a unique role in the rugby world. Where we have had a polarised game, this now bridges the gap between high performance and community."

Steele also revealed that the RFU would also be looking to open discussions with England manager Martin Johnson over his contract, which expires at the end of the year, after the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

"He [Johnson] is very happy that we sit down post-2011 and discuss his future and we are happy to do that," said Steele.

Johnson 'happy' with contract decision - Steele

"One of Martin's qualities is that he is his own harshest critic and I know he will want to think about his position after the World Cup and make sure it is the right thing for him in his life through to 2015.

"I have got huge admiration for Martin. He is a guy with great values, great rugby passion and he is courageous in the things he does, making decisions for the right reasons. I think he is growing in the role he is in."

Grainger will join the RFU in June from the Youth Sport Trust, where he was chief executive officer.

He will take responsibility for grassroots development and play a major development role at school and club level.

"I look forward to playing such an important role in the development of rugby union in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and to use this fantastic opportunity to create a lasting legacy for the sport," said Grainger.

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see also
Johnson keen to remain as manager
22 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
England in a good place - Johnson
20 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
England 'scarred' by Slam defeat
19 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Andrew applies for new RFU role
08 Feb 11 |  English
Andrew to lose elite RFU position
06 Jan 11 |  English
English rugby chief not scared of change
22 Oct 10 |  Rugby Union
Steele named English rugby chief
09 Jun 10 |  English
British Olympics job for Woodward
06 Sep 06 |  Other sport...

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