Andrew: England must look forward

Rob Andrew has reiterated the need for England to "look forward" after three painful years since they were crowned world champions. [more]

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Rob Andrew has reiterated the need for England to "look forward" after three painful years since they were crowned world champions.

England have won just 12 out of 30 Tests following the November 2003 World Cup triumph with Brian Ashton yesterday appointed as their third coaching chief in that time following Sir Clive Woodward and Andy Robinson.

Ashton will spend much of the Christmas and New Year period assessing a busy Guinness Premiership programme as he builds towards finalising a squad for this season’s RBS 6 Nations Championship, which begins in 44 days’ time against Scotland at Twickenham.

England won just three Tests this year, sending them plummeting down the International Rugby Board world rankings, underlining the magnitude of Ashton’s task.

Andrew said: "There has been a lot of looking back in terms of England.

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"2003 was one of those wonderful moments, but with all those wonderful moments – and it is a bit like The Ashes 18 months ago in cricket – if you keep looking back to those wonderful times, you actually forget to look forward and see where you are now.

"It is really important the England squad, the England management team and the England coaches on January 1 wake up and say ‘right, we’re off, let’s get ready for Scotland on February 3.’"

Central to England’s long-term ambitions is sorting out the game’s complicated structure, a task that will heavily involve Andrew in his role as Rugby Football Union elite rugby director.

Andrew told BBC Radio Five Live: "We just have to find an improvement to our current structure.

"And it is not easy to unpick things as quickly as others looking from the outside who say ‘it’s crazy, why don’t you just sort it out?’

"To put it in a nutshell, what we would like to do is ensure the top players are perhaps not playing as much rugby as they have to play in at the moment and are in the best physical and mental condition they can be to play international rugby.

"We are playing a very demanding impact sport, and we just have to find ways of unlocking the conflicts that go on, and that’s not easy.

"I have been involved in the club game for 11 years, and there are huge financial issues surrounding the club game.

"The club game is growing, it is very popular, and clearly they are very big businesses as well, and they hold the contracts of the players.

"At the moment, they effectively determine when and where the player plays. Sometimes, that comes into conflict with what an international coach would wish for the player."

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