Oval Talk

Andrew the rotting corpse within RFU

Oval Talk

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The Rugby Football Union saga continues to rumble on with Martin Johnson now one of the 2.62 million people unemployed in the UK.

And as predicted here two weeks ago, Rob Andrew is still firmly keeping hold of his Twickenham office while everyone around him receives the chop.

So far this year the RFU has lost a chief executive, a chairman and a head coach. Andrew has survived the carnage largely because nobody really knows what he does. Okay, so that might be a generalisation, but his job description is so vague and as he is currently answerable to nobody he will keep his position. He sure as hell is not going to resign.

At the press conference on Wednesday Andrew said: "I'm absolutely not considering resigning." He came across as snide and defensive, concluding that none of the blame should be levelled at him.

During the World Cup, when England suffered embarrassments both on and off the pitch, Andrew was nowhere to be seen. Rather than standing by Johnson's side in New Zealand, he was at his desk in Surrey. He was close to being removed at the beginning of the year but avoided the danger like a slippery eel.

Andrew is about to appoint his fourth head coach but has already missed out on acquiring the services of Shaun Edwards and almost definitely Nick Mallett, so preoccupied has he been with keeping his own job. He cares more about himself than the national game and that should signal the end of him - but no.

It is quite remarkable how Andrew has such an intrinsic part of the review on how England's elite game is run when he is the RFU's operation director. He is the only one not being reviewed. For a man with a lot of responsibilities he is never accountable. John Steele has gone, Martyn Thomas has gone, Johnson has gone, but Andrew remains.

The next person in line to get the blame has to be the janitor.

The only thing which could prompt Andrew to step down would be his own conscience and dignity; but people who have followed his career, in the manner of OT, know this would never happen.

Wholesale changes are needed if the RFU does not want the 2003 World Cup success to become a faint memory. That triumph eight years ago still has a massive effect on the level of interest in grassroots rugby and the number of youngsters who either want to play or are encouraged by their parents.

There is a stench coming from Twickenham's inner sanctum and Andrew is the rotting body. For fans, players, coaches and anybody else involved in rugby, it is time he left.

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