RFU Review Calls For FA-Style Training Center, Head Of Int'l Player Development By 2016
English rugby has been "urged to establish a proper national training centre" and appoint a head of int'l player development by '16 to "improve its chances of long-term success at Test level," according to Robert Kitson of the London GUARDIAN. The recommendation comes from an independent review conducted by former Scottish Rugby Union player and coach Ian McGeechan and former UK Sport Performance Dir Peter Keen. The review also described the Rugby Football Union's organizational structure as too "complicated" and recommended changes to the professional rugby department headed by Rob Andrew. The review was instigated "in the wake of the RFU's problems in recent years and has concluded that more clarity is needed to enhance elite performance" at Twickenham. An Int'l Performance Department, headed by national head coach Stuart Lancaster "will be created," and a new head of elite player development will be recruited to work with the senior and age-grade squads, as well as the sevens and women's teams (GUARDIAN, 1/30). The BBC reported the review "suggested rugby follow football's lead" and establish a facility similar to the FA's national football training center St. George's Park. Keen said: "England Rugby needs accelerated evolution, not revolution." RFU CEO Ian Ritchie said, "It is heartening to hear we are in a good place. We are, however, determined to provide greater clarity and focus to the performance pathway and these recommendations will help us deliver that" (BBC, 1/30).