Coach White throws his hat into RFU ring


By Chris Hewett

Jake White, the South African coach who guided the Springboks to a world title four years ago, threw his hat into the England ring yesterday, thereby joining the likes of his countryman Nick Mallett, the Australian strategist Eddie Jones and Jim Mallinder of Northampton as a contender to replace Martin Johnson as red-rose coach. But like everyone else, White (right) has no clear idea of what the ring looks like, or even if there will be a ring at all in a few weeks' time.

The continuing hangover from the World Cup campaign, intensified to migraine levels by last week's leaking of three reports into events in New Zealand, grew worse still when it was revealed that the discredited former chairman, Martyn Thomas, could be in line for a six-figure bonus despite the fact that he will leave the RFU in the middle of next month after fierce criticism from fellow management board and council members. If this proves to be the case, the governing body will be accused of rewarding failure and find itself even more of a laughing stock than it is already.

Then there is this Friday's council meeting, where members will begin discussions of a "turkeys and Christmas" nature following the tabling of a report into rugby governance by the legal firm Slaughter & May which proposes a dramatic cut in the size of the council – down to 25 from the best part of 60 – and an enhanced role for independent non-executive directors. This debate will not be concluded until the summer, which means seven more months of administrative uncertainty.