Woodward wanted by Bath and England

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The Independent Online
Clive Woodward's installation as the new England coach is still subject to negotiation but the Rugby Football Union expects to link him and the manager, Roger Uttley, with the 77 players at next Wednesday's squad session.

The RFU will not yet confirm the identities of the management team to succeed former coach Jack Rowell's panel while talks continue, but it has been discussing the terms of Woodward's release from his position on Bath's coaching staff.

Bath's chief executive, Tony Swift, was annoyed that the RFU first approached Woodward without going through the club, who will receive substantial compensation for the loss of Woodward, even though he has no formal contract with them.

Don Rutherford, the RFU rugby director, said: "It's not as easy as in the old days when you simply asked the best man to take on the job and he slipped effortlessly in. Now obligations to clubs and employment conditions make these appointments more complicated."

Fran Cotton, the powerful vice-chairman (playing) of the RFU Management Board, insists the coaching job must be full-time. This gives Woodward no chance of staging his three coaching sessions per week at Bath and watching only them on Saturdays.

The RFU is now two weeks behind schedule, having postponed the announcement of England's World Cup management team last month. Without selectors, Rutherford was forced to invite a huge squad, but further disruption to the build-up to the four Tests before Christmas can be avoided - if Woodward and Uttley can be paraded at Bisham Abbey next week.

English Rugby Partnership has announced that its chief executive Kim Deshayes is to quit his high-profile post at the end of this year. Deshayes, a key player in thrashing out agreement between England's topclubs and the Rugby Football Union following months of bitter argument over running the professional game, will pursue other business interests.

"I am pleased to have helped create the right structure and commercial framework to secure the future health and prosperity of England's professional club game into the next century," he said. "I feel that the time is now right to pass the ball on to a successor who will take the top clubs through the next stage of their development."

Deshayes headed ERP, the joint company formed by top professional clubs and Twickenham, having previously run Epruc (English Professional Rugby Union Clubs). He also oversaw ERP's signing of a pounds 22.5m television deal with BSkyB and helped negotiate Allied Dunbar's new three-year, pounds 12m backing for league rugby.

The ERP chairman Donald Kerr added: "The ERP board would like to thank Kim for the major contribution he has made to putting us on the right road for the future."