The British and Irish Lions committee meets this evening with Sir Clive Woodward’s Lions future on the agenda.
The British and Irish Lions committee meets this morning with Clive Woodward’s Lions future on the agenda.
It appears likely that, if Woodward is fired over recent events surrounding his resignation of the England coaching position, Eddie O’Sullivan will be the man asked to take up the Lions coaching reins. O’Sullivan has already declared his availability to travel as assistant to Woodward, so the likelihood is that he will take up the position if asked.
The Lions committee consists of one representative from each of the constituent Unions – Bill Beaumont of England, Noel Murphy of Ireland, Gordon Dickson of Scotland and David Pickering of Wales. Beaumont came out strongly in support of Woodward yesterday, saying
“It’s a case of clearing the air as far as I’m concerned. My own view is that Clive will be taking the squad to New Zealand. Clive’s position is an agenda item because those on the committee read newspapers, hear stories and need to know what is going on. Clive has not signed a contract with us, but we shook hands with him and it was clear form his remarks last week that he remains totally dedicated to the Lions.
“I will be speaking to Clive before the meeting, but he has already assured me that he’ll not be taking on any commitments which would interfere with his job of preparing the Lions” said former Lions captain Beaumont.
Ireland’s representative, Noel Murphy, would only say that “The meeting is a full meeting of the Lions committee. I really don’t want to comment on Clive Woodward. The four of us will be at the meeting so I don’t wish to comment on Clive at this point in time. It will discuss the progress of the Lions tour to date and one of the issues to be discussed will be Clive Woodward’s position.
The Welsh appear to be especially agitated that Woodward approached Gareth Jenkins to join his coaching staff. Jenkins was overlooked for the Welsh coaching position when he appeared to be the man most likely to win it and a public row broke out when Jenkins discovered his fate from a player rather than the Union. Wales subsequently placed an embargo on any of their coaches joining the Lions.
Despite the vast Lions experience that he possesses, McGeechan, also lined up as an assistant to Woodward, appears likely to lose out to O’Sullivan should the meeting go against Woodward.