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Alastair Eykyn's blog: November 2011 Archives
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November 2011 Archives

Trouble at the top for RFU

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Eight years ago, almost to the day, Martin Johnson was feted as the sole English captain to lift the World Cup trophy.

On Wednesday, he shuffled sadly out of Twickenham, weighed down by the burdens of management, apparently unclear about his motives for resigning.

Perhaps he was aware that if he did not jump, he would be pushed.

Certainly he knew his coaching staff would be changed, and that the Rugby Football Union hierarchy remained a jumbled confusion.

There was little support from the man sat by his side at Wednesday’s news conference, his former line manager Rob Andrew.

Tindall pays for World Cup misdemeanours

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Mike Tindall's international career appears to be over following his sudden removal from England's elite player squad. He will not be taking part in the forthcoming Six Nations Championship, which begins in February, nor the tour to South Africa later in the year.

Perhaps the 33-year-old centre would not have been selected anyway. Still, it is a sorry way for a World Cup winner - seemingly - to bow out of international rugby.

Tindall has only himself to blame. A few drinks would have proved harmless but his infamous evening out in Queenstown during the first few days of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand involved rather more than that.

The player's subsequent confusion in explaining his whereabouts did not help his cause, while England manager Martin Johnson was made to look foolish as he faced the media in the aftermath.

End of Thomas signals a fresh start

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After a stormy few months at Twickenham, the departure of Martyn Thomas represents a lifting of the clouds.

Ignore the official statement about "spending more time with the family", and the reference to the end of his contract. Thomas was forced out by the Rugby Football Union 12-man management board of which he was a part. Without doubt, they were under huge pressure from the clubs to remove him at the earliest opportunity.

He will remain in place until 16 December, by which date a new chief executive will have been appointed. The current chief financial officer Stephen Brown will step in as the interim CEO, until the new person takes charge.

Thomas will also relinquish his other high profile roles, as the RFU representative on the International Rugby Board, the Six Nations Committee, and the board of European Rugby Cup.

Most significantly of all, he will lose his post as the chairman of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, to be held in England. Thomas had worked hard to secure the hosting rights for the RFU. It will be a bitter pill for him to swallow.

England's World Cup debacle rages on

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It is 10 days since the World Cup ended and almost a month since England's ignominious exit to France at the quarter-final stage in Auckland.

Yet we are still no closer to knowing what is happening about the future of the England coaching set-up or the future of the hierarchy at the Rugby Football Union.

The RFU loves nothing better than a "robust review", even if it means pouring scorn on it once it is published. That's exactly what acting chief executive Martyn Thomas did after commissioning a report by Judge Jeff Blackett into the botched hiring and firing of former chief executive John Steele and the non-recruitment of a performance director (more on that later).

There are no less than six RFU reviews taking place at the moment. Three relate to rugby and three to discipline or standards of corporate governance.

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About this blog

I'm Alastair Eykyn and I am a rugby commentator for BBC Radio and TV. My job also involves having my nose to the ground for all the interesting rugby stories. You can follow me on Twitter @5LiveRugby.

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About this blog

I'm Alastair Eykyn and I am a rugby commentator for BBC Radio and TV. My job also involves having my nose to the ground for all the interesting rugby stories. You can follow me on Twitter @5LiveRugby.

Here are some tips on taking part and our house rules

For the latest updates across BBC blogs,
visit the Blogs homepage.

Subscribe to Alastair Eykyn's blog

You can stay up to date with Alastair Eykyn's blog via these feeds.

If you aren't sure what RSS is you'll find our beginner's guide to RSS useful.

Rugby headlines

Visit the BBC Sport website