Sir Clive Woodward praises Lancaster's England appointment
Thursday, 29 March 2012
March 29 - Sir Clive Woodward, the British Olympic Association (BOA) Director of Sport, has praised Stuart Lancaster (pictured) on his appointment as permanent England rugby head coach but dismissed speculation that he will return to the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
Sir Clive, who will be Team GB deputy Chef de Mission at London 2012, has continually been linked with a return to the RFU after guiding England to victory at the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
There was even speculation that he could move before London 2012, with the position vacant until Lancaster's appointment.
The RFU, however, awarded interim coach Lancaster the role following a successful 2012 Six Nations Championships that saw him claim four wins and lose just one game, to Grand Slam winners Wales.
Sir Clive (pictured) has congratulated Lancaster and said that he looks forward to working with the sport in an Olympic capacity with rugby sevens set to appear on the sporting programme at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
"I would like to extend my congratulations to Stuart Lancaster on his appointment as England rugby head coach," said Sir Clive.
"The performance of the England team during the recent Six Nations Championship demonstrated great progress and I wish Stuart and his team continued success.
"The London 2012 Olympics is the start of an exciting series of major sporting events taking place in the UK during the coming years, representing a golden opportunity for British sport.
"Here at the British Olympic Association we are very aware of the significance of enthusiastic home support and I am sure Stuart and his team will enjoy England rugby supporters' full backing going forward towards the Rugby World Cup in 2015 on home soil.
"With regards to rugby joining the Olympic family, I am looking forward to working with the RFU and all of the other Home Unions to ensure the introduction of rugby sevens to the Olympic Movement is a great success for Team GB and the game of rugby at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond."
Sir Clive was also heavily tipped to return to the RFU last year to take up the new performance director position.
He was huge favourite for the role but decided not to join after then chief executive John Steele changed the job description for the post, stripping the role of any responsibility for England's senior Test team.
The debacle not only cost Steele his job but provoked a major crisis at the RFU, with chairman Martyn Thomas also forced to resign.
Steele has since resurfaced as Youth Sport Trust chief executive and claimed that he bears no grudge against Sir Clive.
January 2012: Alan Hubbard - Will Sir Clive ever return to rugby after being bitten by the Olympic bug?
September 2011: Sir Clive Woodward excited about Innsbruck 2012 after Chef de Missions seminar
August 2011: Alan Hubbard - Could Sir Clive switch to football after London 2012?
August 2011: Exclusive - No stone will be left unturned for London 2012 - just like when we won World Cup promises Sir Clive Woodward
July 2011: Exclusive - Sir Clive Woodward claims he wants to stay at BOA for Rio 2016