London – The name of the former Springbok rugby coach, Nick Mallett, is being bandied about as a possible successor to Clive Woodward, whose unexpected resignation has led to a crisis in English rugby.
Woodward’s resignation followed a day after the English captain, Lawrence Dallaglio, announced he was retiring from Test rugby.
Their resignations do not bode well for the English team, who are to play home Test matches against, among others, the Springboks and Australia towards the end of the year.
The 48-year-old Woodward, under whose leadership England won the Rugby World Cup in Australia last year, will probably remain as coach of the British Lions to tour New Zealand next year.
The reasons for Woodward’s decision will be made known at a media conference at Twickenham on Thursday, but it’s a known fact that he is upset about the refusal of English clubs to make their players available for more training with the English squad.
Many people say this is a smokescreen, because he wants to become involved in soccer as there’s nothing more for him to achieve in rugby.
He shocked rugby supporters in an interview with the business magazine Business Lifesaying that his passion for soccer is far bigger than for rugby and that he tries to attend as many soccer matches as possible.
Woodward’s name is being linked to Southampton, a Premier League team, who played in the FA Cup final last year. He may take up a managerial role at Southampton.
Apart from Mallett, the names of the former English captain, Nigel Melville, coach of Gloucester; Rob Andrews, a former English flyhalf and now Newcastle coach, as well as Jim Mallinder, coach of England A, are all being mentioned as possible successors to Woodward, who on his day played for England and the British Lions.
Seven of the RWC players have retired and the team have also suffered defeats in the Six Nations series and in three Tests against New Zealand and Australia.