Rob Howley insists Clive Woodward is still the man to lead the British & Irish Lions to New Zealand and reckons a break from rugby could even be good for the ex-England coach.
The former Wales captain says English rugby is on the brink of crisis after losing Rugby World Cup heroes Lawrence Dallaglio and Woodward within days of each other, but Howley, aiming to make his third successive Lions tour next year, believes Woodward is the mastermind to topple the All Blacks; even if he does launch a new career in football.
"It will be to the Lions' benefit that Clive will not have a foot in both the England and the Lions camp when it comes to preparation and selection," said Howley. "I know Graham Henry found it particularly difficult to do two jobs at once in 2001. He had to do a big job for Wales but also get things in place for the Lions.
"Instead Clive will now have time to travel up and down the country, as well as going to Ireland, Wales and Scotland to watch players and make his plans. He will go to New Zealand as probably the best prepared coach the Lions could hope for.
"It is a huge blow for England because he has done a fantastic job for the last seven years and questions must be asked at the top. I know Lawrence retired in order to spend more time with his family and there will always be a long line of quality players coming through, but when you lose your captain and coach in the space of a week, you have to wonder what is going on."
Howley, who underwent surgery on his right wrist in the summer, remains hopeful of making it a hat-trick of Lions tours after touring South Africa in 1997 and Australia in 2001 and has pencilled in September 21st for the crunch date. He said: "That's hopefully when I will get the cast off my wrist and get the all clear to resume full-training, then my season will start."
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
Dodgy tattoos, carthorses, Avatar and soft chins are revealed by Wales Sevens players Tom Williams and Sam Cross as they profile the Wales Sevens squad taking part in Hong Kong this weekend in the latest round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.