Baron condemns successors for 'wrecking' RFU

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The Independent Online

The former chief executive of the Rugby Football Union Francis Baron has expressed his anger at the way the organisation has been "wrecked" since his departure.

Earlier this week the RFU chose not to publish a report by its disciplinary officer, Judge Jeff Blackett, into the ousting of former chief executive John Steele. Baron said: "The board is in a state of total denial. Nobody is accepting responsibility. When there is a horrendous sequence of events on your watch, you do the honourable thing."

Blackett was tasked with investigating recent events at the RFU, including the recruitment and subsequent dismissal of Steele and attempts to appoint a performance director. Both the role played by the RFU's management board and its chairman, Martyn Thomas, were criticised.

"I left a financially strong and healthy union," added Baron. "We were operating to high standards of governance and we had a strong and stable professional management team. It seems that has all been wrecked in just 12 months."

Meanwhile, Leicester have confirmed the signing of England centre Mathew Tait. The 25-year-old, who has been capped 38 times at international level, was released by Sale earlier this year following an injury-hit spell in the north west. The Leicester director of rugby, Richard Cockerill said: "We think Mathew is an excellent addition to the squad."

England will be clad all in black when they kick off their World Cup campaign against Argentina in Dunedin on 10 September. The "away" strip jet black shirt and shorts will also be worn for their three warm-up games.