Robinson survives but RFU announce England shake-up

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The Independent Online

Andy Robinson has been retained as England head coach following a post-RBS 6 Nations review - but his assistants Phil Larder, Joe Lydon and Dave Alred will all be replaced.

Larder, the defence coach, and Alred, the kicking specialist, will leave the Rugby Football Union while Lydon is to be offered a position at the national academy.

The RFU plan for a more streamlined management team and are to advertise for specialist defence, attack and forwards coaches.

The England coaching staff will report to a new director of elite rugby, who will be responsible for overseeing the management and administration for all England representative teams.

The RFU's performance department will be merged with the England management team to form a new elite rugby department.

Chris Spice, the current performance director, has tendered his resignation, which was accepted by the RFU.

RFU chief executive Francis Baron explained: "Every management position in the elite structure has been reviewed.

"Doing nothing was not an option. I have also assessed carefully the commercial impact the poor results of the England team over the last two years and what impact that would have going forward if matters were not addressed.

"You just have to look at the results. Since the World Cup we have played 25, we have won 12 but lost 13.

"Against the major countries we have played 19 matches, won six and lost 13.

"In the Six Nations since the World Cup the trend has been getting worse not better. In the last two years we have finished fourth.

"These issues needed addressing. It is not acceptable for the England team to be languishing fourth with no sign of recovery.

"It has not been an easy process, especially when you are dealing with people's livelihoods, but we are confident that the resulting measures are the best way forward for the England team and elite representative rugby in this country."

RFU management board chairman Martyn Thomas added: "The RFU is aware of its responsibilities to deliver a winning England, it is what our supporters expect.

"A correct structure is needed and the second most important part is personnel. That process has started and will be concluded as soon as possible."

Robinson gave his backing to the reshuffle and said: "The review has been very thorough and extensive.

"I support the new structure and I think it is the best way forward for England. I was as disappointed as anyone with our Six Nations performance and I am confident that these changes will help us move on.

"I would like to thank Phil and Dave for their massive impact on English rugby and I am sorry to see them go.

"They played a huge and understated part in helping England win the World Cup and no-one should underestimate the contribution they made to us becoming the first northern hemisphere side to win that trophy.

"I have enjoyed working with Joe and his influence has been tremendous. I hope he will still be involved in the national academy and we can continue to draw on his numerous skills."

The national academy will be expanded to include the regional academies and will service all teams below senior level.

Conor O'Shea, currently director of regional academies, will be promoted to the position of national academy director.

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