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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 23:39 GMT
England row 'will put off coach'
David Barnes in action for Bath
Barnes says the RFU should relinquish control of the professional game
Players' union chairman David Barnes has warned England could miss out on finding a top head coach unless the club-versus-country row is resolved.

Sir Clive Woodward, in 2004, and Andy Robinson both departed the position blaming the structure of English rugby for hindering the Test team.

"I think coaches are always going to be wary of it," said Bath prop Barnes.

"Two England coaches have now resigned stating the structure was rotten. I think it will put people off."

Director of elite rugby Rob Andrew will make his recommendations to the Rugby Football Union's Club England committee on Thursday over who should replace Robinson, if anyone, in the short term.

Reports suggest he could propose promoting attack coach Brian Ashton for the Six Nations.

It is time to have a separate organisation responsible for the professional game and England

David Barnes
Barnes, chairman of the Professional Rugby Players' Association (PRA), endorsed Ashton's qualities from his six-month period in charge at Bath before returning to the England set-up.

"Brian is an exceptional coach," he said. "In the six months he was at Bath he changed our style of play dramatically.

"He is very individual and has his own ideas of how to play the game."

Long-term however, Barnes proposes a radical shake-up of the English structure which would effectively see the RFU merge with their current nemesis Premier Rugby.

606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on this story

"It is time we drastically changed things in the professional game if international rugby in this country is going to be successful again," he said.

"The RFU are not fulfilling their objectives and we can see that with the England team.

"It is time to have a separate organisation responsible for the professional game and England, with a different organisation in charge of amateur, junior and grass-roots rugby.

"A tri-partite organisation running the professional game with players, Premier Rugby and a separate body from the RFU has got to be a better way forward.

"The only way we will get a solution is to work together with no pre-set agendas."



SEE ALSO
Richards drops hint over England
06 Dec 06 |  Rugby Union
Andrew set for seat on RFU board
06 Dec 06 |  English
RFU boss Baron rejects quit calls
30 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
England 'must wait for new coach'
30 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
England's era of decline
29 Nov 06 |  English


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