LONDON (AP) — English rugby's governing body has reverted to the original job description for its new performance director, a climbdown that reportedly paves the way for 2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward to return to the national team set-up.
The Rugby Football Union released a statement on Tuesday which said the successful candidate's remit would exclude any involvement or influence over the senior team, managed by Martin Johnson.
However, at a board meeting on Thursday, the RFU voted to ditch those new plans, with one amendment — that Johnson will have to report directly to the performance director only after this year's World Cup in New Zealand.
"The board ... discussed the issue of Martin Johnson's line manager," the RFU said Friday. "A vote was taken in the end, which was passed by a slim majority, to revert to the original job description (of the new performance director) with one amendment."
The British media are widely reporting that Woodward, who quit as England coach a year after guiding the team to 2003 World Cup success in Australia, could be interested again in a role which has arisen as part of a management restructuring by chief executive John Steele.
The RFU says it has a shortlist of three candidates. It hasn't revealed their names but Woodward, who is currently director of rugby for the British Olympic Association, is reported to be among them and the favorite.
Interviews were due to be held next week but have been postponed.
The main task of the performance director will be player development and defining long-term performance strategy in men's and women's teams in all age groups.