Rugby Union: England coach in no mood to resign

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The Independent Online
CLIVE WOODWARD is today expected to reaffirm his commitment to carry on as England coach, despite seeing the tide turn against his Rugby Football Union allies, Cliff Brittle and Fran Cotton.

Brittle, last week omitted from the negotiations with the top English clubs after seeing Cotton resign as RFU vice-chairman, has left little doubt as to Woodward's intentions. He confirmed: "Clive will not be resigning as coach."

Brittle, the management board chairman, remains in his post but will miss Cotton's support after the latter's decision to give up a job that involved close liaison with Woodward and the England squad.

Woodward is distressed at Cotton's decision and wants him to come back. He said: "I can't think of many people I can work with. Cliff and Fran are the two men the England players relate to. But I am not a quitter, though I would not have taken the job unless I knew that Fran would be there in support."

Saracens retain the side that started their victorious Tetley's Bitter Cup semi-final at Northampton for their Good Friday Premiership One match at Bath. The centre Philippe Sella has recovered from a leg injury, and scrum-half Kyran Bracken is fit from a long-standing shoulder problem. Mike Catt has recovered from the hamstring injury he received on England duty last week and is included in Bath's line-up.

Scotland will be represented by their two "super-districts" in the Heineken European Cup next season after the tournament organisers agreed to the Scottish Rugby Union's request to enter the newly created sides. Scotland will field a combined Edinburgh-Scottish Borders team and a Caledonia- Glasgow side. The SRU's general committee took the decision to cut the number of districts by half a fortnight ago with the number of professional players cut by around 60-70.