English rugby seeks Sir Ian McGeechan’s guidance
FORMER Scotland player and coach Sir Ian McGeechan is to lead a review of English rugby in conjunction with one of the architects of Team GB’s Olympic success.
The RFU have appointed McGeechan and Peter Keen to act as independent consultants in a performance review of the England team, reporting to RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie. The union stated that it was part of the “drive to make sure England teams have the foundations necessary for long-term success”.
Ritchie stated: “We have one of the greatest rugby brains of modern times allied with one of the most respected performance experts Great Britain has produced and that experience of best practice at the very top of elite sport can only benefit us.
“Across the organisation we’re continually looking at how we can do things better. In this case that means the best performance pathways, support mechanisms and programmes which ultimately result in better England teams.”
England returned from the 2011 Rugby World Cup bitterly disappointed at being knocked out at the quarter-final stage after an unimpressive pool campaign and a host of discipline issues on and off the field. The RFU conducted an investigation into the squad behaviour and asked Stuart Lancaster, a former Scotland age-grade cap, to take the reins of the national side while they deliberated on the future.
England’s improvement in the RBS Six Nations Championship led to Lancaster being handed the job full-time, but the RFU are not yet happy with its high performance structure.
McGeechan has coached the British & Irish Lions five times as well as leading Wasps to Heineken Cup and Aviva Premiership titles. Keen, awarded the CBE this year, is the former UK Sport performance director credited with bringing in the systems that sparked a revolution in British cycling and then new high performance structures for Team GB as a whole ahead of the Beijing Olympics.
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