Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rugby Union: Baron Won't Strike Back at Woodward

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rugby Union: Baron Won't Strike Back at Woodward

Article excerpt

Byline: By Andrew Baldock

TWICKENHAM supremo Francis Baron has rejected calls from Sir Clive Woodward to step aside as Rugby Football Union chief executive.

Woodward fired a broadside at Baron and RFU elite rugby director Rob Andrew, blaming them for the current state of English rugby - which includes the national team winning just one of its last nine Test matches.

But Baron was in no mood for a verbal scrap, preferring instead to recall "five great years" working with Woodward, which included England's 2003 World Cup triumph.

Baron said: "I had five great years working in partnership with Clive. I think Clive and I probably formed one of the most successful partnerships in rugby anywhere in the world over an extended period of time. I have great memories of that, and I am not going to say anything now which seems to be a tit for tat. As far as I am concerned, my working relationship with Clive was outstanding. He produced great results on the field, I produced great results off the field.

"The partnership worked brilliantly, and I was disappointed when he stepped down in 2004, but he has gone his separate way and he has been out of the game for two years.

"The game is a very different game now, the issues are very different now than they were when Clive was in post, and I was disappointed to read what he had to say. But he is perfectly entitled to express his opinion, and I am not going to say anything negative about Clive because I have a high regard for him."

Asked if he would step down from his job, Baron replied: "No, I won't. We have got a massive programme in place. On the commercial side, there is the South Stand to complete - there is another year's work there - and I am determined to see all that through. "In my period in office, we've had seven good years and one lousy year. I don't like lousy years on my record, and I am going to make sure we put it right and we get back on track to having good years again. …

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