Ruck and Maul: Gomarsall says RFU want Woodward back to oversee head coach Lancaster


The former England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall has mixed singing with soothsaying on this Sport Relief weekend, predicting the return of Sir Clive Woodward to the Rugby Football Union after this summer's Olympic Games.

Gomarsall, who was among the brave "Big Hitters" of ex-internationals belting out (or "butchering" as Austin Healey put it) the JLS song 'Proud' for charity at the England v Ireland match and again on BBC TV on Friday night, told Radio 5 Live yesterday: "I think they'll stick with the man that they've got [Stuart Lancaster as head coach]. By luck, it fits with the way they want to have a management team in the future. I see Clive coming back after the Olympics and the only man that probably would accept that is Stuart Lancaster." Woodward told Ruck and Maul last year that he would be interested in an overseeing director's role. Ian Ritchie, the new RFU chief executive, told the media last month that the Professional Rugby Department headed by the often-criticised Rob Andrew is going through a review.

England trio in the dock

Unpleasant allegations have disturbed the sweetness and light of Lancaster's stint in recent days. Dylan Hartley, the England hooker, has a hearing on Tuesday into the charge he bit the finger of the Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris at Twickenham eight days ago. And Danny Care and Calum Clark – two of Lancaster's protégés when he coached at Leeds – are facing charges of alleged sexual assault and breaking an opponent's elbow respectively. Both Care and Clark were praised by Lancaster for their leadership qualities at the outset of his temporary tenure, and their names appeared among 63 England prospects (29 backs, 34 forwards) displayed under the title "The Future?" at the interim coach's Six Nations debrief with the media last Tuesday. There was no sign of Bath's rugby league convert Kyle Eastmond among the 13 back-three players but Saracens' code-crosser Joel Tomkins was included with six other centres. Harrow schoolboy Maro Itoje, 17, was the youngest to appear, alongside fellow blindsides Tom Wood, James Haskell and James Gaskell. And Danny Cipriani, who will play for Sale next season, was bracketed with George Ford, Rory Clegg, Henry Slade and Tom Heathcote as the fly-half understudies to Owen Farrell, Charlie Hodgson and Toby Flood. Cipriani appeared to injure a hamstring in scoring a first-half try, and went off during Melbourne Rebels' 30-29 win over Western Force on Friday that broke a 12-match losing streak.

Pumas schedule causing chaos

Slade, the 19-year-old Exeter Chief, is expected to cover next season for the absences of fly-half Ignacio Mieres with Argentina. The Pumas' entry to the new four-team Rugby Championship alongside Australia, New Zealand and South Africa is causing headaches. Mieres and Exeter club-mate Gonzalo Camacho are likely to be absent from the beginning of August until mid-October, and then again for a month in the autumn for a European tour. "We didn't approach the idea of stopping either player from playing international rugby," Rob Baxter, the Exeter head coach, told Ruck and Maul. "The thing everyone appreciates about these players is it means a lot to them to play for their country. That desire to do well is why you're attracted to them. We want players who are ambitious." No such luck for Leicester wing Horacio Agulla who has been shown the door by the Tigers, although they will hang on to Marcos Ayerza because, to quote director of rugby Richard Cockerill, "world-class props are hard to come across". Baxter admits the situation is fluid. "This is going to be Argentina's toughest ever schedule of games," he said. "We'll see what state they come back in and look at it over as year or so and assess it."


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before