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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
RFU closer to elite post decision
Rob Andrew
Andrew has been Newcastle supremo since 1995
Rob Andrew and Sir Clive Woodward appear to be the leading contenders as the Rugby Football Union moves closer to naming an elite director of rugby.

Andrew's chances of taking the new post looked to have increased after his club Newcastle postponed a pre-season media conference scheduled for Monday.

Woodward has been one of the favourites since the post was announced in April.

A timetable for making the appointment will be drawn up on Monday, with an announcement possible later this week.

"No date has been set as yet. But I think it is going to be Wednesday at the earliest," John Spencer, one of the four men who will decide on the job, told the Independent on Tuesday.

"I don't think it will necessitate another physical meeting between us. I am expecting to be called later this week to talk again with the panel."


Former England captain Spencer will deliberate with RFU chief executive Francis Baron, management board chairman Martyn Thomas and England's 1980 Grand Slam skipper Bill Beaumont.

"The two names that look as if they've shot to the front of the queue are Woodward and Andrew," said BBC Five Live rugby correspondent Ian Robertson.

"Andrew's come in rather late, but he has huge support from the clubs."

The new elite director of rugby will oversee all aspects of representative rugby in England, from the regional academies to the full senior side.

He will also mastermind strategy and selection for the England team, recruit coaches and try to broker a deal with the clubs over player availability.

Andrew, a former England fly-half, has been Newcastle director of rugby since 1995 and has previously indicated he feels he has unfinished business with the Falcons.

However, Andrew will be seen by some as the ideal man to build bridges between the RFU and English clubs.

Woodward, who led England to their 2003 World Cup triumph, left the RFU under a cloud in September 2004 and criticised Baron in his resignation speech.

However, the Southampton director of football has been one of the favourites to land the post ever since its creation was announced in April.

Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan has reportedly withdrawn from the fray after also being on the original shortlist.

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett, ex-Wasps director of rugby Warren Gatland and former Australia coach Eddie Jones have all ruled themselves out of the running.

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