England could make changes

England could make changes to any aspect of their international set up prior to next year's World Cup, according to new Rugby Football Union chief executive John Steele. [more]

England could make changes

England could make changes to any aspect of their international set up prior to next year’s World Cup, according to new Rugby Football Union chief executive John Steele.

Steele has given his full backing to England team manager Martin Johnson but admitted he will be undertaking a substantial review of all areas of the England camp in the build up to 2011’s global gathering in New Zealand.

The former Northampton coach and UK Sport boss is hopeful that England can build on their summer success against Australia but has stated that changes to all areas of the business will be made if necessary.

"I will look at all the areas and will be objective about ensuring that we have the right people doing the right things in the right way and then I will take a view after that,” Steele told the Daily Telegraph.

"Anything before that is speculative. I will call it as I see it across the operation. If things need to be evolved, developed or changed, then I will do that.

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"I will try to make positive change at the right time. That applies to any part of the business but it will be done in a considered and objective way."

Despite his admission that changes may be necessary somewhere down the line, Steele is confident that Johnson and fellow coaches John Wells, Mike Ford, Brian Smith and Graham Rowntree can lead England to a set of impressive victories against New Zealand, Australia, Samoa and South Africa this autumn.

Steele has pointed to Johnson’s immense stature in the game and the respect he commands from those around him as a key part of England’s chances of matching their 2003 World Cup winning exploits late next year.

"The England rankings recently have not been where we would have all wanted them to be,” added Steele in regard to England’s current position of sixth in the IRB standings.

"There is no question that Martin Johnson will do everything he can. Look at his leadership style on the pitch; it is the same off it. He is absolutely committed to a successful England.

"The England team is our flagship and we need to ensure it is performing to the best of its ability. I would like to see us going into the 2011 World Cup with the ability to compete with the rest of the world.

"I think the autumn will give us a good indicator as to whether that is possible or not. I am hoping we will build on the success of the Australian tour."

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