Richards: No dialogue over England job

Dean Richards insists there has been "absolutely no dialogue" between himself and Twickenham top brass about succeeding Andy Robinson as England boss. [more]

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Dean Richards insists there has been "absolutely no dialogue" between himself and Twickenham top brass about succeeding Andy Robinson as England boss.

The 43-year-old former Leicester rugby director and England number eight, who is currently in charge at Harlequins, remains favourite to replace Robinson.

Robinson lost his job earlier this month following England’s dismal autumn Test performances, when they suffered defeats against Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand.

Rob Andrew, the Rugby Football Union’s elite rugby director, is in charge of moves to find a new England head coach or manager with the world champions’ opening RBS 6 Nations Championship game against Scotland less than seven weeks away.

A caretaker boss is likely to be appointed for the Six Nations campaign, with current England attack coach Brian Ashton possibly being installed before Christmas.

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Richards is under contract with Quins until 2008, and his coaching pedigree – two Heineken Cup triumphs and four successive Premiership titles while at Leicester – makes him an obvious target for the RFU.

But there appears little possibility of anything happening in the immediate future regarding Richards and a potential England role.

He said: "There has been a lot of talk about me and the vacant England head coach position, but a lot of it has been taken out of context, I feel.

"There has been absolutely no dialogue between myself and the Rugby Football Union, and my sole aim is to concentrate on the bread and butter, which is NEC Harlequins.

"I have never actively shown an interest in the job and from my point of view, I have never gone chasing anything."

Richards though, told City AM: "That said, obviously we are talking about a very coveted role.

"To coach your national team is everyone’s dream, and if an offer was to come my way then, yes, I would look at it.

"It would, however, have to be a very good offer to tempt me away from Quins. I am very happy here, and I have a job to do."

Andrew, RFU chief executive Francis Baron and management board Martyn Thomas will host a pre-planned media briefing at Twickenham tomorrow, when the coaching issue is certain to be raised.

But they can also expect the thorny subject of Sir Clive Woodward to crop up following his weekend broadside fired at Andrew and Baron.

Woodward said: "England’s head coach must be a man of massive stature to do an all-encompassing job.

"But which coach worth his salt, unless he was desperate for work, would take the England post at present with Andrew hovering, having a say in what is effect a selection committee and with no control of the players?

"There are two people fundamentally responsible for the complete mess we are in. One is Francis Baron, and the other is Rob Andrew."

Woodward believes former England fly-half Andrew should take a back seat in terms of team affairs, while Woodward also claimed "winning the World Cup was the worst thing that ever happened to English rugby" with regard to impeding its future development.

The next staging post in the coaching debate will be on Wednesday week and a scheduled RFU management board meeting, when Andrew is expected to present his immediate proposals for life post-Robinson.

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