Rob Andrew considers RFU future

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Rob Andrew is considering his future at the Rugby Football Union after his current position as England's director of elite rugby was scrapped.

The RFU's new chief executive John Steele has merged Andrew's elite department with the union's community rugby arm in a bid to strengthen the organisation's management structure.

The new centralised rugby department will be divided into the areas of performance, operations and development. Andrew, 47, has been invited to apply for the role of rugby operations director.

"I am very excited about the future of the game in England, and the re-structuring that will place rugby at the heart of everything the RFU does," Andrew said.

"Change is never easy but there are some exciting opportunities and challenges ahead.

"I will be considering the role of rugby operations director in the coming weeks and in the meantime will continue with my responsibilities as elite rugby director."

The role of rugby operations director includes some of the responsibilities which currently fall under Andrew's wide-ranging brief.

The successful candidate will have to work closely with the Premiership clubs to manage the elite player scheme - but they would not be involved directly on the playing side.

Steele will be appointing a performance director to oversee England teams at all levels, a position that has heavily been linked to Sir Clive Woodward.

The main focus of Steele's tenure is to maximise the benefits of hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup for the entire game in England, from the elite level to the grass roots.

Consequently, Steele has brought the community game into the central rugby department, to be managed by a new director of development.

"I have spent the last few months gathering insight and views on how the RFU could better serve the game," said Steele.

"What became clear is that while we had a sound commercial platform we did not have enough focus on the quality of the rugby experience across the game.

"So the new structure puts rugby right at the centre of the business and seeks to create more rugby expertise to benefit all levels of the game.

"The next five years will be some of the most exciting in the RFU's history and I wanted to make sure we are in the right shape as an organisation to seize the opportunities in front of us.

"The three senior appointments in the rugby area are hugely important to the future of the game."

The reorganisation has led to five executive departures, including competitions and tournaments director Terry Burwell, community rugby director Andrew Scoular and elite teams media director Richard Prescott.

RFU chairman Martyn Thomas said: "The changes we are making signal a changing of the guard and the new refreshed leadership team will give the RFU new impetus and a clearer strategic direction not just at the elite end of the game but across the whole game.

"We will emerge from the next few months a stronger, more effective union and John is to be applauded for taking the tough decisions needed to get there and for delivering the changes in a way that is cost neutral to the business."