Legend in his lunch break

Paul Trow talks to the man who found the formula for unity

Much has been made of the intermediary skills of Bill Bishop, the Rugby Football Union's president, in helping to heal the rift with the leading clubs. And there is little doubt that before the genial Cornishman became involved, the negotiations between Epruc and the RFU team, headed by the controversial Cliff Brittle, were heading nowhere, fast. Right up to Friday afternoon, the impasse was still firmly in place with both sides apparently equally determined to give no further ground.

The decisive intervention, it seems, came from an individual who had been in the eye of the storm since it first blew up when the game was declared open by the International Rugby Board in Paris last August.

Tony Hallett, who was installed as secretary of the RFU in succession to Dudley Wood after last summer's World Cup, had suffered a grim baptism of fire in his new job. His experience as a senior Royal Navy officer had scarcely prepared him for the machinations and internecine politics which, within a few brief months of the IRB's historic announcement, had English rugby paralysed in its grip.

But cometh the hour . . . and in Hallett's case the crucial hour when he came of age as one of the shapers of rugby's future was during the lunch break. In the morning, the two adversaries were given the opportunity to address each other. Polite applause followed the presentation by Epruc's four representatives, but after the RFU negotiating team's report it was clear, in Hallett's words, "that there were still a lot of differences". So while nearly 60 of rugby's finest were taking the edge off their hunger, Hallett went off on his own "to write a resolution which I hoped would bring the parties together".

In all, he produced three pages when the proceedings resumed at around 3.30pm. "I showed it first to the RFU committee and then I took it to the Epruc representatives who were in a separate room," Hallett said.

"All of a sudden, my resolution had almost universal acceptance by all sides. It was subjected to some amendment, but not much, and within two hours we had reached agreement. There was a handshake at around 6.15pm and then we set about trying to prepare a press statement.

"That led to more to-ing and fro-ing before both parties agreed the wording. They never met officially again after the morning session, and by the time we held the press conference at around 7.45pm to announce the news most of those involved in the talks had gone." As the delegates filed away after five months of huffing and puffing, Hallett allowed himself a quiet smile of satisfaction at a job well done. Almost statesmanslike, in fact.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Website Editor

£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

Primary Teachers needed for supply in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: We are looking to rec...

Primary Supply teaching jobs in Stowmarket

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

Year 1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: The Job An inner city Birmingham sc...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments