Monday, April 02, 2007

RFU: “Where has it all gone wrong?”

October 5, 2006

The Sunday-Times reports on a secret internal memorandum circulated at Twickenham that is said to be "witheringly critical of most aspects of the operation of [England's] national team."

The document pulls together a variety of opinion under the heading “Where has it all gone wrong?” It reveals the bitterness, backbiting, lack of confidence and lack of transparency into which the affairs of the England team had allegedly descended. In it, the England coaches as a group are described by close colleagues as “egotistical, arrogant and patronising”. The whole scene is labelled “a culture of arrogance”. [...]

The strongest criticism in the document comes from the RFU’s performance department, of which England coaches are meant to be a part. It comprises grandees in the fields of coaching and academies. Its contribution to the report is damning. “The England coaching team have become very insular and alienated from their colleagues in the performance department and other RFU departments. Certain of the coaching and management team have an egotistical, arrogant and patronising attitude . . . a culture change is needed.” It goes on: “There are problems in defence, attack, kicking, fitness and technical areas.”

The England players then weigh in. Their views make painful reading, although they do take responsibility for their poor displays. The players’ view is that “it is a well-known fact around . . . the clubs that the England coaching set-up is now substandard.” They add: “The ‘ego and arrogance’ aspects of the coaching team have to go.” And conclude: “There are too many dour, negative characters in the England coaching set-up.”


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