Rugby Union

Former players wanted Sir Clive Woodward on RFU panel to probe England failure

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Will Greenwood and Lawrence Dallaglio have questioned why Sir Clive Woodward has been overlooked for the five-man panel appointed to review England's World Cup horror show.

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie, former Red Rose lock Ben Kay, British and Irish Lions stalwart Sir Ian McGeechan and former Football Association boss Ian Watmore will seek answers for the darkest hour in Red Rose history.

England failed to reach the knockout phase for the first time, becoming the first host nation to endure that fate, and their tournament lasted a mere 16 days following the decisive 33-13 defeat to Australia at Twickenham.

Misgivings have been raised over the composition of the quintet, which is completed by professional game board chairman Ian Metcalfe and will present recommendations to the RFU board at their next meeting on November 17.

It was Ritchie who ratified Stuart Lancaster's permanent appointment as England head coach in 2012 and then gave him a new contract lasting until 2020, while McGeechan was on the panel that advised that the Cumbrian be given the post.

The future of Lancaster and his coaching lieutenants is in grave doubt, but McGeechan gave his backing to the 46-year-old as recently as two weeks ago.

Greenwood, who won 55 caps for England from 1997 to 2004, insists that as the mastermind of the nation's World Cup triumph 12 years ago, Woodward should have been involved in the inquest.

"Clive is the elephant in the room. I'd have him there all day long," Greenwood said at the Beyond Rugby event in central London.

"From the outside what you see is samey, samey. Same group making potentially the same mistakes.

"If you want a dynamic group of people to come in and go 'Right, what's wrong? What can we do?' Woodward should be in the room and he would say what he thinks."

Greenwood's World Cup-winning team mate Lawrence Dallaglio was also baffled as to why Woodward was not asked to be involved in assessing England's failure to reach the knockout phase for the first time.

"Clearly we've arrived at the wrong decision quite a few times now and it's important we arrive at the right decision now," Dallaglio said.

"The legacy of this World Cup should have been about how the game will grow, but ultimately it will be about who is England head coach.

"Clive is English, has had the job before and has won the World Cup, so surely he must be qualified on how things should be taken forward?

"But we'll continue to ignore the one person who has actually delivered in this competition. I despair of that a little bit."

The scope of the review will be to assess preparation and performances and the effectiveness of the coaching, management and support team. It will also consider all feedback given by relevant stakeholders including players.

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