Ruck and Maul: Twickers in a twist over Sir Clive's inevitable return

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The Independent Online

The role of England's performance director – which in every other union has a medium to low profile but the RFU appears to think is a huge deal – has got Twickenham's knickers in a rare twist.

In five months and counting, the task of hiring someone to look after the high-performance planning of all the men's and women's national teams has yet to reach what many have always thought was foregone conclusion: the return to his old employers of Sir Clive Woodward.

A late and extraordinary change (now reversed) to the job description by the chief executive John Steele has seen him take a severe beating in the time-honoured battle between professional staff and the volunteers who hold senior positions. Whether or not Martin Johnson carries on as England manager after this year's World Cup, reporting to the new director, is yet to be determined. What a performance.

Cyclists are the wheel deal

Intrepid cyclists Jodie Burton and Tom Hudson, whose brave ride from Britain to New Zealand we reported here a year ago, have been in touch from the Thailand/Malaysia border to mark their 365 days and more than 20,000km in the saddle.

Working with the Tag Rugby Development Trust, they have uncovered many remarkable rugby stories on their travels (check them out at and last October they pedalled unwittingly within 1200 metres of Osama bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad.

Tom tells us: "Where rugby has travelled, an unwritten spirit and camaraderie has followed. With only the time and energy of a few inspirational individuals, the sport is tackling everything from drugs, prostitution and human trafficking to unimaginable poverty. You have a world of friends out there, people who would love you to get involved."

A film highlighting a surprising rugby outpost has its London premiere at the Birkbeck Cinema this evening. Salam Rugby uses the struggle of women to keep playing rugby in Iran to show the challenges of life under President Ahmadinejad.

Mujati is so two-faced

The media spotlight has not fallen on Brian Mujati despite Northampton's march to Saturday's Heineken Cup final. The Zimbabwean-born Springbok prop has refused all requests for press interviews since a story in South Africa implicating his father – whom Brian has "not seen or spoken to in years" – in a land-grab in their native country.

But Mujati does write a blog that makes fascinating reading. In one entry he recalls vomiting from the effects of drink in an aeroplane toilet as the Springbok squad flew home from the Twickenham Test in November 2008 where he won his last cap to date and did not play well.

The man hailed as "Mooj" by Saints fans every time he touches the ball writes: "There are two distinct sides to me: I call them Dr B. and Mr Mujati. Ironically, Dr B is not to be trusted... Dr B had taken over the wheel and he'd got into the habit of regularly inviting all his buddies – Mr Daniels, Mr Walker, cousin Carling, brother Wellington and last, but definitely not least, his favourite Uncle Hennessy... They gradually got into the habit of hanging out quite regularly which, of course, later became a big problem, but that's another story for another day."

Happily, Mr Mujati seems to have reasserted himself. "Eventually, I slowly started to learn to keep my head down, work hard, and put things in God's hands. I learnt to ignore the noise of the media and crack on with my life. Needless to say, it's still a work in progress."