England's World Cup debacle rages on
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.
Thomas has said categorically that the decisions regarding England manager Martin Johnson and his coaching staff will be based on the findings of an "external" review carried out by former England captain and former RFU vice-chairman Fran Cotton.
He will be assisted by two independent experts in elite performance and another former England captain, Lawrence Dallaglio. The remit is to look at the entire three-and-a-half years of Martin Johnson's regime, to assess the England performances in that time, and look at the structure of the RFU rugby department.
Down and Out. England's defeat to France in the World Cup quarter-final wasn't the biggest talking point of the tour. Photo: Getty
There are those who feel strongly that Cotton cannot be objective in his findings, as he has already been critical of Johnson's tenure in radio and television interviews.
Rob Andrew is also conducting an "internal" review of the Rugby World Cup. As head of department (his official job title is, remarkably, unclear) he will look at the style of play, the success or failure of the coaching staff and the breakdown in player discipline during the tournament.
Andrew's findings will feed into a third review, done by the Professional Game Board. This features representatives of the Premiership and Championship clubs, and the RPA (the players' union). Their noses are out of joint, because before the World Cup they were told their review would be the primary vehicle to gauge the success of the campaign in New Zealand. Their role appears to have been usurped by Cotton's review.
And so to the non-rugby reviews. There are three. Andrew and the head of the RFU's legal department, Karena Vleck, are examining each individual disciplinary indiscretion by England players at the World Cup. They will establish if any of them have broken the terms of their elite player contract, or indeed broken the code of conduct established in the aftermath of England's "Tour of Shame" to New Zealand in 2008. If Andrew and Vleck consider it appropriate, offending players may be fined or even suspended from international rugby.
And Thomas himself is the subject of a review. Charles Flint QC is looking into whether Thomas, the acting CEO, should face charges of bringing the game into disrepute, following his reaction to a report by the RFU's chief disciplinary officer, Jeff Blackett. Thomas responded to criticism of him contained in the report by threatening the Judge Advocate General with a defamation suit. He has since tried to discredit the very report that he commissioned.
The QC will report to the RFU President Willie Wildash.
The sixth and final review relates to the governance of the RFU. In the wake of Steele's sacking, and under pressure from the Sports Minister Hugh Robertson, the governing body appointed the law firm Slaughter and May to investigate the manner in which they conduct their affairs. Senior partner Nigel Boardman is the man leading the review.
All of which leaves the average England supporter utterly baffled as to what happens next.
Will Martin Johnson be in charge when the Six Nations comes around in three months' time? The delay in decision-making from the top seems to suggest that Johnson will have every chance of continuing.
If he does, who will be amongst his coaching staff? There is no way that the current incumbents will stay in place, en masse. The forwards coach John Wells and the attack coach Brian Smith are the men most vulnerable. Defence coach Mike Ford and scrum coach Graham Rowntree may earn a stay of execution.
There are four years until England hosts the next Rugby World Cup. As one Premiership coach said to me recently: "You couldn't make this mess up. The RFU is the wealthiest Union in the world, England have the most players to choose from and the best resources available to them. And yet they have absolutely no idea what they're doing. It is a complete shambles."
In the meantime, the clock is ticking. Personalities are still clashing. And English rugby is suffering.