London 2012: Woodward role is bad news for RFU

Sir Clive Woodward is to be the British team's chef de mission at the first winter Youth Olympics in January in Innsbruck.

The appointment is a strong indication that Woodward will not join the Rugby Football Union as performance director until next year at the earliest – and potentially not until after the London 2012 Olympics, where he is due to be deputy chef de mission.

The RFU is expected to court Woodward, the former World Cup-winning manager, once a new chief executive is appointed to succeed John Steele.

Woodward, currently the British Olympic Association's director of sport, said: "I am delighted to take on the role of chef de mission for the first winter Youth Olympic Games."

The British team is expected to consist of 20 competitors from five sports, aged 14-18.