EGM looks unlikely

RUGBY UNION
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It now looks as if rugby's rulers will not have to face a vote of no confidence, despite calls from various quarters over the last few days of the Carling crisis. The junior club, Worthing, were considering the possibility over the weekend but had a change of heart when the matter was resolved, writes David Llewellyn.

Peter Wheeler, the former England hooker, then took up the baton but it is unlikely he will succeed. Dudley Wood, the Rugby Football Union secretary, explained: "I wouldn't have thought anyone would call for an emergency general meeting since the annual meeting is only a few weeks away, on 14 July, and the deadline has passed for a motion of no confidence. The only thing that could happen is that someone could raise the matter under Any Other Business, but it couldn't be voted upon, so it would be a bit pointless."

The affair will still be raised at the meeting. Wood, who retires from the post at the annual meeting after nine years at Twickenham, revealed: "I feel sure a statement will be made at the AGM. One can't pretend that these things haven't happened." But he was unable to say whether it would take the form of a report from the president, Dennis Easby, or a report from the 18-strong executive.

Whatever form it takes the whole issue has soured Wood's last few weeks at HQ. "It is very sad," Wood, who will be 65 next Thursday, said, "because I am just coming to the end of my term of office and the game has never been so successful in this country.

Bath's management committee meets on Tuesday to discuss the appointment of John Hall as team manager. The favourite to succeed Hall as captain is the England centre Phil de Glanville, while Gloucester's new captain is the lock Dave Sims.

John Fitzgerald, the Ireland prop, suffered a severe calf strain yesterday and a decision on whether he has to withdraw from their World Cup squad will be made at the end of the week. Jim Staples, their full-back, is making a good recovery from an ankle injury.

The injury to Christophe Deylaud's hand is not as serious as was at first feared and the French stand-off may still make it to the World Cup.

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