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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 March 2006, 11:40 GMT
RFU rejects Woodward return claim
Clive Woodward
Woodward insists he is happy at Southampton
The Rugby Football Union has dismissed claims by Will Greenwood that former coach Sir Clive Woodward is in talks about returning to the England camp.

World Cup winner Greenwood claimed in The Daily Telegraph that talks were "ongoing", with Woodward, 50, being lined up as England's "overlord".

However, RFU chief executive Francis Baron said: "There is absolutely no truth in the claims."

Speculation over the England job has been rife following a poor Six Nations.

England finished fourth for the second successive year, suffering three consecutive defeats, a year ahead of the World Cup in France.

Greenwood had claimed that the RFU were keen to place current coach Andy Robinson back in charge of the forwards, while Woodward would "take charge of England's defence for the World Cup".

He added that sources have told him that Woodward "would only come back as director of rugby with a place on the RFU board", and that "negotiations have intensified in recent weeks".

However, Baron said: "As announced, we are in the middle of an all-embracing review of England's RBS 6 Nations performance and no decisions will be made until the completion of that review.

There have been no such discussions, nor are any planned
RFU chairman Martyn Thomas

"It is also important to stress that Sir Clive is in a senior position under contract to another organisation and we would not dream of approaching him without talking to that organisation first.

"I shall be writing to the chairman of Southampton on Monday to make it clear that, contrary to media speculation, we have not made any approach to his employee."

Chairman of the RFU Management Board, Martyn Thomas, added: "There have been no discussions about Woodward taking charge of England's defence at the World Cup next year, nor are any such discussions planned."

Woodward was England coach from September 1997 to September 2004, guiding the team to World Cup glory in 2003.

His final bow in rugby before moving to his new career in football was the Lions tour of New Zealand in summer 2005, on which the tourists were beaten 3-0.

Robinson, who has overseen eight defeats in his 16 matches in charge, has already indicated his desire to complete his contract through to next year's World Cup.

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