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.

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Sport
Sean Abbott
cricketSean Abbott is named Australia's young cricketer of the year
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Partnership Sales Executive - TV

competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global multi-media...

Sauce Recruitment: Account Director

£26017.21 - £32521.19 per annum + OTE $90,000: Sauce Recruitment: My client is...

Recruitment Genius: Linux Systems Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of UK Magento hosting so...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Development Manager - North Kent - OTE £19K

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea