Bristol owner Steve Lansdown has hit out at the Rugby Football Union for what he termed "totally unprofessional" behaviour over their recruitment push for Steve Borthwick.
The RFU released a statement four days ago saying that former England captain Borthwick - who has been working as Championship club Bristol's forwards coach - would join new England boss Eddie Jones' support staff.
Bristol, though, have yet to formally release Borthwick from a long-term contract he has with them.
Borthwick worked alongside Australian Jones during the World Cup this year, carrying out assistant coaching duties with Japan during a campaign highlighted by their famous win over South Africa.
Lansdown has confirmed Bristol are in talks with the RFU about a compensation deal for Borthwick, but he also criticised English rugby's governing body.
"T hey think they can ride roughshod over everybody, but they are finding out they can't," Lansdown told BBC Radio Bristol on Saturday.
"I can't believe that the governing body has acted in such a way.
"It is totally unprofessional. I don't think the RFU have covered themselves in any form of glory whatsoever.
" Our stance, from Steve Borthwick's point of view, is that it is a big career move and we don't want to stand in his way. But we want adequate compensation to allow him to go.
"We put in a lot of time and effort in recruiting Steve.
"He has been in a short period of time and made a big difference to us already and we have an eye on winning the (Championship) play-offs. We wanted him for that. We have aims and ambitions."
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