Friday, 9 November 2007


It appears that former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward and former England cricket coach Duncan Fletcher have more in common than we first thought.

Not only did they each preside over iconic moments in English sporting history (the 2003 Rugby World Cup triumph and the 2005 Ashes series respectively), then enjoy the subsequent over-the-top accolades of the masses in Trafalgar Square and the patronage of Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street, and then preside over quite the most spectacular slumps in form by their respective teams - they also, it seems, both believe that their self-declared coaching genius can be applied to other sports.

It was Clive, you'll recall, who left his England coaching position in a blaze of publicity with the intention of ultimately becoming a football manager, the round ball game having been his first love. Southampton FC were eventually silly enough to indulge his ego for a few ill-fated months until tiring of his madcap ideas (including, I seem to remember, installing a fish tank in the players' lounge to induce tranquility) before Woodward eventually resigned, turning up later at the British Olympic Association, where he's busy handing out key coaching roles to his former staff at the RFU - Sheryll Calder, Dave Reddin and Dave Alred all joining the Olympic gravy train.

Not to be outdone, Fletcher, who has non-too-subtly levered his name back into the public eye recently with his character assassination of Freddie Flintoff in his autobiography, has now revealed he would relish the chance to work in rugby union. Given that there appear to be precious few offers from cricket on the table, Fletcher has apparently declared his expertise in all matters rugby.

"I'd like to be a rugby consultant," he has told the Independent. "I have some ideas.

"The big thing in rugby is changing direction. That's the key. If you can change direction, you've got a one-metre advantage over the opposition and by the time they have woken up to it, you've stolen that metre. I find that fascinating."

Well that's all fine and dandy then. On that basis I could also be a rugby consultant as I'm sure I could come up with plenty of half-baked ideas of my own. Come to think of it, so could my Mum. Not having played top-class rugby would not, according to Fletcher, be a disadvantage.

"What's much more important is an investigative mind and an understanding of how the body works," he is reported to have said.

Delusions of grandeur? Possibly. Mad as a box of snakes? Definitely.

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