Tag Archives: debacle

Chelsea admit regrets over Mark Clattenburg race row

We got it wrong over Clattenburg, admit Chelsea… but still no apology for starting ref race storm

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UPDATED:

19:22 GMT, 27 November 2012

Chelsea have at last admitted they ‘regret’ being so quick to accuse Mark Clattenburg of racially abusing two of their players — but they have STILL not apologised for making the accusation public.

The club held secret peace talks with Clattenburg and his 15 elite referee colleagues on Monday.

Bruce Buck, the Stamford Bridge chairman, travelled to the National Football Centre at St George’s Park on the request of all Premier League match officials.

Dragged through the mud: Chelsea say they regret the way they acted over the Mark Clattenburg debacle

Dragged through the mud: Chelsea say they regret the way they acted over the Mark Clattenburg debacle

Allegations: Chelsea claimed Clattenburg had referred to John Obi Mikel as a 'monkey'

Allegations: Chelsea claimed Clattenburg had referred to John Obi Mikel as a 'monkey'

They met in a bid to repair the damage
caused by the false accusations of racism that were levelled against
Clattenburg. At some point during the meeting Buck shook hands with the referee.

Part of the discussion even focused on the possibility of Clattenburg taking charge of a Chelsea game in the future.

Referee's union Prospect welcomed the joint statement by PGMOL, the Premier League, and Chelsea.

National secretary Alan Leighton said the use of the word 'regrets' in the joint statement were tantamount to and accepted by Clattenburg and the Select Group as an apology.

'This was an important move forward in confirming Chelsea's recognition of Mark's integrity and impartiality,' he said in a statement.

Leighton said the referees 'welcomed the opportunity to express their concerns about the way that Mark had been treated'.

He added: 'In a thoroughly professional manner, they explained what the impact had been in real terms and that there could be no repetition of the events.'

The joint statement read: ‘A meeting took place on Monday afternoon at St George’s Park between Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the Premier League and Chelsea Football Club.

‘PGMOL were represented by General Manager Mike Riley and all 16 Select Group referees, the Premier League by Chief Executive Richard Scudamore and Chelsea FC by Chairman Bruce Buck.

Trip: Bruce Buck (left) went to St Georges to speak to Clattenburg and the other referees, as well as Mike Riley and Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore

Trip: Bruce Buck (left) went to St Georges to speak to Clattenburg and the other referees, as well as Mike Riley and Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore

This is a joint statement from all parties.

‘Following the completion of the
investigation by The FA into the case involving Chelsea FC and Mark
Clattenburg, the Premier League and Chelsea FC requested, and PGMOL
agreed, to meet in order to discuss the issues surrounding the reporting
of the allegation.

‘There
was a constructive and open discussion. The club regrets not having
given more consideration before issuing a statement on the evening of
Sunday 28th October.

The club also regrets the subsequent impact the intense media scrutiny had on Mark Clattenburg and his family.

‘The referees accept that, given Chelsea
FC had received a good faith claim from one of their employees, the club
had an obligation under FA rules to report the allegation.

‘There was recognition by all parties that the impartiality and integrity of refereeing in this country remains paramount.

Chelsea FC made it clear they would welcome Mark Clattenburg back to Stamford Bridge in the future and PGMOL would have no issue in appointing him to a Chelsea FC match going forward.

‘It was a thoroughly professional meeting. All parties now believe it is time to draw a line under this incident, learn from it and move on for the good of all Premier League clubs, players and match officials.’

The Football Association last week decided to take no disciplinary action against Clattenburg following an investigation into Chelsea's allegation he used 'inappropriate language' against midfielder John Obi Mikel, while the police also shelved a probe into the matter.

Michael Scott resigns over GB"s Olympics swimming debacle

Scott pays the price for GB's Olympics swimming debacle

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UPDATED:

20:25 GMT, 24 November 2012

Michael Scott, the man responsible for British swimming's flop at the London Olympics, resigned on Saturday night.

National performance director Scott had been widely criticised after Team GB picked up just three medals in London despite 25million of public money.

Resigned: Great Britain national performance director Michael Scott

Resigned: Great Britain national performance director Michael Scott

Scott, who lives in Australia where
he has been based since joining British Swimming in 2007, was
effectively forced to quit when an emergency review by British Swimming
decided that the national performance director must live in Britain.

He said: 'I respect this conclusion from the performance review I initiated.'

Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson cleared for England debut in Sweden

Jenkinson finally cleared for England debut in Sweden by 9am email from FIFA

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UPDATED:

13:18 GMT, 14 November 2012

ENGLAND v SWEDEN LIVE

Join us for all the action from the Friends Arena from 7pm.

Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson was
finally cleared to play for England tonight when the FA received the
necessary forms from FIFA which were sent by email from Zurich to
Wembley at around 9am this morning.

The speed with which Zurich processed
the FA application for Jenkinson, who represented Finland at Under 19
and Under 21 level, to change his international colours in time for
tonight's friendly against Sweden is another sign of improved
relationships between the FA and FIFA since the nadir of the 2018 World
Cup vote debacle two years ago.

Patience: Carl Jenkinson had had to wait for his England chance

Patience: Carl Jenkinson had had to wait for his England chance

The FA first put in their England representation request for Jenkinson on the day of the World Cup qualifier against Poland a month ago – and the clearance documents needed to be signed off by a member of the FIFA ExCo committee.

But the red tape bureaucracy meant that the 20-year-old was originally omitted from Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad because the FA were not certain that they would receive the green light in time for tonight's match in Stockholm's new Friends Arena stadium which Jenkinson will start on the bench.

Highly-rated: Carl Jenkinson has received rave reviews for his displays this season

Highly-rated: Carl Jenkinson has received rave reviews for his displays this season

THE RAPID RISE OF JENKINSON

The Harlow-born defender joined Arsenal for 1million in the summer of 2011 after making just eight appearances for Charlton.

Jenkinson was quickly called into first-team action for the Gunners, making his debut in the Champions League tie with Udinese in August and went on to feature regularly before an injury put him out of action for three months.

An injury to Bacary Sagna meant the 20-year-old started the first games of this season and earned rave reviews.

Jenkinson was capped for England U17s before switching his allegiance to his mother's home country of Finland. He has since gone on to represent Finland at U18, U19 and U21 levels.

Polish sports minister offers to quit over England rain farce

Polish sports minister offers to quit over farce of England's rained-off qualifier

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UPDATED:

15:35 GMT, 24 October 2012

Poland's sports minister has offered to resign over the embarrassing postponement of the country's World Cup qualifier against England last week after torrential rain turned the National Stadium pitch into a swimming pool.

FIFA ordered the match to be played a day later after the game, originally set for October 16, was called off when officials failed to close a retractable roof over the venue that cost 312million for Euro 2012.

The debacle sparked a wave of criticism from fans and pundits and prompted Prime Minister Donald Tusk to vow to punish those responsible. He will present his findings later on Wednesday.

Wet, wet, wet: England's clash in Poland last week was put back a day after torrential rain ruined the pitch, as demonstrated by Roy Hodgson (below)

Wet, wet, wet: England's clash in Poland last week was put back a day after torrential rain ruined the pitch, as demonstrated by Roy Hodgson (below)

Wet, wet, wet: England's clash in Poland last week was put back a day after torrential rain ruined the pitch, as demonstrated by Roy Hodgson

'I feel politically responsible for the situation,' Sports Minister Anna Mucha told reporters. 'The responsibility of the minister is not only to make sure that all procedures are followed. It's wider.'

The Sports Ministry oversees the National Sports Centre, owners of the stadium, and are blamed by some for failing to anticipate trouble with the playing surface.

Local media reported the pitch was much thinner than the one used for Euro 2012 matches, making it less able to absorb the heavy precipitation.

Organisers said the roof over the 58,000-capacity arena could not be closed during rainfall due to safety concerns and neither of the teams nor FIFA wanted to close it when there was still time.

Poland managed a 1-1 draw in the delayed World Cup qualifier but both managers lamented the effects the delay had on their players.

Thousands of angry fans also complained that they did not attend the match because they could not afford to stay longer in Warsaw and reschedule their tickets home.

Wednesday's game was played under the roof despite sunny weather and mostly clear skies.

Robbie Keane defends Giovanni Trapattoni

Players must take the blame, says Keane as Ireland skipper defends Trapattoni

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UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 15 October 2012

He was sat next to the manager, so he didn’t really have any choice but to stand by him.

But while the defiant message from Giovanni Trapattoni was all about him, for captain Robbie Keane there is clearly a wider issue to address. Players’ Pride.

Keane was forced to sit in the stands in the Aviva Stadium on Friday night as his younger and more inexperienced team-mates were cruelly exposed to the lethal German machine and surrendered to record the worst result in Irish history.

Defiant: Keane addresses the media in Torshavn

Defiant: Keane addresses the media in Torshavn

On Monday, as part of his duties as captain, now he is fit again to reclaim the armband from John O’Shea, he was forced to sit on the top table in the Torsvollur Stadium and field repeated questions about his manager’s future.

For a man who is not renowned for his patience in the midst of such an intrusive media inquisition, Keane kept his cool and offered his support for the beleaguered man to his right, who somehow managed to smile throughout.

Asked if the players owed their manager a performance, and result, after Friday's debacle, the skipper said: 'Listen, everybody is in this together, of course we owe him. It’s clear to see and I don’t need to tell you the job he has done for the country.

'I think as players, we let ourselves down, we let our country down. And whether you are playing or not playing, we are all in this together.

'We are all going to be criticised together and it’s important that we all pay back together. Tomorrow, it will be interesting to see the separation of the men from the boys.

'It was not good enough on Friday and it’s important now that we stand up and be counted.

Mauling: Ireland were hit for six by Germany on Friday night

Mauling: Ireland were hit for six by Germany on Friday night

'As players you try to go out and do your best. The lads tried their best and it was not good enough. They know they let themselves down.

'Our main priority is Sweden and Austria. If we finish second, like we always try to do as we come up against teams who are superior to us – as happened last Friday.'

Ireland have returned to Torshavn, where the chill in the air is not just the maelstrom surrounding the Italian manager and his coaching staff.

There were torrential showers, bright sunshine and even a very little snow flurry during the day on Monday and when Ireland’s players finally took to the artificial pitch at six, the heavens really opened.

Of course little is known of the Faroes who suffered a late, and harsh defeat at the hands of Sweden here on Friday night.

Former Ireland boss Brian Kerr offered the Irish set-up his dossier on the Faroe players he managed in their last campaign and has warned anyone that will listen that this will not be a walkover.

Under pressure: Trapattoni (left) has had lots of questions to answer

Under pressure: Trapattoni (left) has had lots of questions to answer

But Keane, who of course played under Kerr many times, does not seem unduly concerned about the opposition, although he accepts Ireland should win and are expected to do so.

His interest, and that of the squad, is to make progress with a victory and put their World Cup campaign back on track. And to do it for themselves, the country, and the manager.

He added: 'We need a massive reaction. We have to have a massive reaction. When you lose in the manner that we did on Friday night, we have to.

'We are playing against a team where we are the favourites and we should win but it’s easier said than done.

'The players who are playing, the players on the bench and everybody involved has to stick together and try to rectify Friday night by getting a decent result.

'People probably expected us to be beaten by Germany but over the years the way we played against these big teams, it’s always been by one or two goals.

Pitch imperfect: Keane is not happy with the surface in Torshavn

Pitch imperfect: Keane is not happy with the surface in Torshavn

'But it was the manner in which we lost is why this game is even bigger. I think it’s a big test for everybody.

'Senior players like myself, John O'Shea and Keith Andrews, have been trying to rally the troops and trying the best we can to keep the spirit high because it's always tough when you lose a game in that manner.

'With the amount of young players we have, it's important that we get around them. We will see the reaction of the players tomorrow.'

Before going out to test his Achilles on the very spongy artificial surface, on which the collective Irish media had earlier had a laughable kickabout, Keane finished with another moan about the pitch, much to the consternation of the hosts, who have made significant investment, and improvements.

Keane said: 'I got an injection and at the moment it feels good but when you are playing on plastic pitches I'll be honest with you, you've probably heard me talking about it in America, they shouldn't be allowed in this day and age. I don’t think it's good for players but hopefully it holds up and I'm confident it will.'

Ryan Bertrand will not use Twitter again

Bertrand will not return to Twitter after debacle over explicit post

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UPDATED:

17:22 GMT, 14 October 2012

Ryan Bertrand has told his friends he will never use Twitter again and deleted his account after the controversy which erupted over his reaction to claims he had withdrawn from the England squad with a sore throat.

The illness turned out to be a viral infection which prevented him playing any part in Friday's World Cup qualifier with San Marino and on Sunday he was also ruled out of Tuesday's trip to Poland.

No return: Ryan Bertrand deleted his account

No return: Ryan Bertrand deleted his account

In the immediate aftermath of his first withdrawal becoming known, Bertrand said: 'Just to clarify…. Its not a “sore throat” Im ill. swollen glands in my neck… And constant headache for 3 days now and freezin cold.

'Do you think a “sorethroat” could stop me being apart of a match for my club or country #yourf******nuts this is what every boy dreams of.'

Although Bertrand was far more vague than Cole, who has accepted a misconduct charge after making a direct attack on the FA, he quickly realised his error.

'sorry if i offended anyone by swearing as i don't encourage that type of language,' he said, 'was just disappointed at the thought of people thinking i only have a sore throat.. which is not the case…'

Bertrand deleted his account after deciding his presence on the popular social networking site was a hassle he could do without.

His international team-mate Phil Jagielka insists there is no chance of him opening a Twitter account and becoming embroiled in similar controversy.

The Everton defender admits he is not a fan of social networking and does not participate.

Not for me: Phil Jagielka does not want to use Twitter

Not for me: Phil Jagielka does not want to use Twitter

Jagielka said: 'I don't have a Twitter account. There is maybe one in my name but it is not me. I've never been a fan of Twitter.

'I don't really get why people do it but that's up to them. I have never had Facebook, Myspace, any of those things.

'For me it is a bit more trouble than it's worth and I won't be signing up anytime soon.

'A lot of players love doing it, I can see why they do it. For me, it is not worth the hassle.'

Martin O"Neill backs Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

O'Neill backs Kop boss Rodgers as Ulster duo prepare to go head-to-head

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UPDATED:

14:53 GMT, 14 September 2012


Vote of confidence: Martin O'Neill has backed Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to turn the club's fortunes around

Vote of confidence: Martin O'Neill has backed Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to turn the club's fortunes around

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has backed Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers to run the club his own way after a turbulent start to the season.

The two Ulstermen will go head to head at the Stadium of Light on Saturday evening three days after Rodgers' problems at Anfield were put into perspective by an independent report into the deaths of 96 of the Reds' supporters at Hillsborough in 1989.

It is certain to be an emotional occasion on Wearside, but once the whistle blows, the only concentration for the men on the field will be the three Barclays Premier League points at stake.

Rodgers' men currently sit in 18th place in the table having taken just one point from their three games to date, albeit from reigning champions Manchester City and with their new manager coming under pressure in some quarters with the Andy Carroll debacle still a topic for debate.

But O'Neill said: 'Brendan obviously has his style, which he brought to Swansea – I say brought to Swansea, it might have been there in the first place, but he certainly enhanced it.

'If I say so, their start to the season under [Michael] Laudrup now is maybe a continuation of that work.

'People can tinker with it whatever way they want, but it's worked very well.

'On the back of that, he has gone to Liverpool and obviously wants to stamp his authority – or his mark, rather than authority, perhaps – on Liverpool Football Club. Obviously, that's what you want to do as a manager.

'But I don't think he's going into it with eyes closed. He would have had a number of meetings there with the owners of the football club. He must have agreed to the way in which they want to work.

'I believe there's a fly-on-the-wall documentary – I haven't seen it, so I really can't comment on it other than some of the reviews that people have made about it in the newspapers. It couldn't, maybe, have been done without his consent.

'But whatever way he is doing it, it's entirely up to him.'

Mini-break: Sunderland have not been in action since the 2-2 draw at Swansea on September 1, when Steven Fletcher (left) scored twice

Mini-break: Sunderland have not been in action since the 2-2 draw at Swansea on September 1, when Steven Fletcher (left) scored twice

That six-part documentary, entitled 'Being Liverpool', is being aired in the United States this month and is said to shed light on Rodgers' managerial style.

O'Neill, of course, is several months further into the process of imposing his personality on his own club, and with two creditable draws at Arsenal and Swansea under his belt to date, heads into his first home league game of the campaign – Reading's visit on August 25 was postponed because of torrential rain – in positive mood.

He said: 'Liverpool come here with great tradition. I know the word 'legendary' is used almost as the throw of a dice now, but the club has legend and everything else that you could possibly think about behind it now, particularly over the last 50 years since Bill Shankly came in.

'It's a really proud tradition and it will be a highly-charged atmosphere.'

Winger Adam Johnson is battling to be fit after returning early from England duty with a thigh problem, but fellow midfielder David Meyler will hope for an opportunity after confirming his return from two serious knee injuries by making his first start for the Republic of Ireland against Oman in midweek.

Injury doubt: Adam Johnson is fighting to be fit for the Liverpool game after picking up a thigh injury on England duty

Injury doubt: Adam Johnson is fighting to be fit for the Liverpool game after picking up a thigh injury on England duty

O'Neill, who revealed he had turned down a series of offers for the player to go out on loan, said: 'David has had a really tough time with injury. Of course, I have only known him as he is making his way back from it.

'He might have seen how Fraizer Campbell has fought back from the injuries, but I am delighted for David.

'He is an exceptional lad, he is, honestly. You would be very happy with him around about the place.'

London 2012 Paralympics: Mariia Pomazan returns discus gold medal

Discus debacle settled as Pomazan returns illegitimate gold medal to IPC

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UPDATED:

19:30 GMT, 6 September 2012

The Ukranian Paralympian mistakenly awarded a gold medal in discus has finally returned the award.

Mariia Pomazan had kept hold of the medal seemingly in protest after a flaw in Omega's scoring system meant she was wrongly given gold in the F35/36 class.

She did not attend a second medal ceremony on Monday, when she was due to be awarded silver.

Returned: Mariia Pomazan (centre) has given back the medal

Returned: Mariia Pomazan (centre) has given back the medal

The Ukrainians were given until 5pm on Thursday to return the gong by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Their press attache Nataliya Harach said: 'She has given back the medal. Our volunteer brought the medal to Mr (Xavi) Gonzalez (chief executive of the IPC).

'We had a letter that said it had to be returned by 5pm, so it was.'

Pomazan will face no further action by the IPC.

Spokesman Craig Spence said: 'The medal has been returned, we asked for it to be returned and it was. Everything's in order.'

Cook salutes 100-cap leader Strauss and insists: "He"s one of the greats"

Cook salutes 100-cap leader Strauss and insists: 'He's one of the greats'

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 14 August 2012

Alastair Cook visibly relaxes at the mention of his captain. It’s hard to blame him. The England cricket team could do with a good news story and — amid the Kevin Pietersen debacle and threat to their No 1 ranking — Andrew Strauss’s impending landmark is precisely that.

When Strauss walks out at Lord’s for the third Test against South Africa — a game England must win to stay top of the tree — he will become only the ninth Englishman to play in 100 Tests.

And, eight years after marking his debut at the same venue against New Zealand with scores of 112 and 83, he will be the quickest of the lot to get there. Few men in the England team are closer to Strauss than Cook. They have put on 4,677 Test runs, more than any other opening pair in English history.

Top order: Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss are England's most successful opening partnership

Top order: Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss are England's most successful opening partnership

While Pietersen has failed to deny the allegation that he was rude about Strauss in texts sent during the Headingley Test to members of the South African team, Cook has taken the opportunity to underline the support that exists within the dressing room for his captain.

‘It’s an incredible achievement,’ Cook told Sportsmail. ‘We’ll mark it somehow, but the best way would be with a win and a Straussy hundred.

‘If you have a look at the England centuries list, he’s second, so he’s up there as the very best we’ve produced. As an opening batsman that makes it even more special, and his captaincy as well — back-to-back Ashes wins and leading England to things they’ve never done before.

‘I love my cricket history and although I’m not quite sure how people judge this stuff, he should go down as one of the greats.’

High flyer: Cook (second left) joins Graeme Swann, Jonny Bairstow and Graham Onions in training

High flyer: Cook (second left) joins Graeme Swann, Jonny Bairstow and Graham Onions in training

The past few weeks have tested Strauss’s qualities to the full. England were humbled by South Africa in the first Test at The Oval, taking only two wickets in 189 overs while Hashim Amla racked up an unbeaten triple hundred.

And they have since had to deal with the Pietersen affair, a process which has tested to the full the team spirit built up so assiduously over the past three years by Strauss and team director Andy Flower.

‘When you lose by such a big margin, it’s easy to shout and scream and become emotive,’ says Cook. ‘But there was a calmness about the way Straussy led the debrief after The Oval along with Andy Flower. In sport sometimes both sides give it their all and you lose. It doesn’t matter whether it’s by two runs or 200 runs, you lose. But Strauss calmly and systematically thought about what went wrong and where we could improve.

‘He’s an assured leader and it helps our team.’

Inspiration: Both Cook and Strauss will be striving for runs at Lord's

Inspiration: Both Cook and Strauss will be striving for runs at Lord's

Cook, who was nominated for three ICC awards including cricketer of the year, has benefited personally from his alliance with Strauss at the top of England’s order. When they first teamed up, some wondered whether they were too similar to work together: both prefer to play off the back foot, both like to work the ball through the leg side and both have had to work on their games against spin.

But Cook says the similarity has proved beneficial: ‘We know what shots are danger shots on a certain wicket against certain bowlers because we look to score in the same area, so we can advise each other.’

England may be thankful their captain and vice-captain sing from the same hymn sheet: brains have been racked trying to work out why 2012, with defeats in five Tests out of 10, has so far fallen short of 2011, when they lost none out of eight.

‘It’s a question we have asked ourselves,’ admits Cook. ‘Maybe we haven’t evolved. When we got to No 1, we all said staying there would be really hard and we’ve found it harder than maybe we thought. Maybe we have now turned that corner and we’re pushing on.’

A sixth defeat at Lord’s would condemn England to a first Test series defeat at home out of eight, but Cook is sanguine about Strauss’s future.

‘He can go on for as long as he wants. After doing so well and now not having had as a good a year as we’d have liked, that’s thrown up another challenge. And Straussy loves challenges.’

Alastair Cook is an ambassador for Clydesdale Bank, sponsors of the Clydesdale Bank 40, who are supporting local communities through their Howzat! campaign.

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Rob Andrew"s position at RFU to come under scrutiny in new review

RFU review threat to Andrew as McGeechan and Keen take new roles

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UPDATED:

21:37 GMT, 13 August 2012

Under pressure: Rob Andrew position could be looked at in the independent 'England performance review'

Under pressure: Rob Andrew position could be looked at in the independent 'England performance review'

Rob Andrew's position at the RFU is likely to come under renewed scrutiny after the governing body announced details of an independent ‘England performance review’.

The audit of the entire operation supporting the national teams will be undertaken by legendary Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan and former performance director of UK Sport, Peter Keen, who is credited with much of the groundwork for Team GB’s OIympic success.

After the 2011 World Cup debacle, the RFU promised a thorough review of the elite set-up but the need to appoint an England head coach meant action was not taken until now.

With Stuart Lancaster established in charge of the senior Test team, a wide-ranging audit is likely to pay particular attention to Andrew. He lost responsibility for overseeing England last year but still has a prominent role as professional rugby director.