Clive Woodward has appeared to rule himself out of a return to Twickenham as the Rugby Football Union’s performance director.
Woodward, England’s 2003 World Cup-winning supremo, had been installed as favourite for a post created by RFU chief executive John Steele’s recent restructuring plan.
But Woodward, the British Olympic Association’s director of sport and Team GB deputy chef de mission, has now distanced himself from the role in his first public comment on the speculation that has raged for weeks.
In a statement released by the BOA, Woodward revealed he had participated in "informal conversations'' with RFU ``senior figures'' with the full knowledge of BOA chairman Lord Colin Moynihan and chief executive Andy Hunt.
But he also confirmed he would not be attending interviews relating to the performance’s director position.
Woodward said: “Since the Rugby Football Union announced its restructuring plan late last year, there has been considerable speculation that I might return to the RFU.
“With the full knowledge of Colin Moynihan and Andy Hunt, I have had informal conversations regarding the role of performance director with senior figures at the RFU.
“However, I have not participated in a formal interview for this position at any stage in the RFU process.
“From the outset I made it clear to both Colin and Andy that I would only attend a formal interview with their full knowledge. I would like to express my thanks for their understanding over this situation, and also for their considered views which have been greatly appreciated.
“In order to prevent any further speculation, and in the interests of the both the BOA and RFU, I would like to formally confirm that I will not be attending any interviews for this position.”
Woodward added: "I am totally committed to my role as director of sport at the British Olympic Association and deputy chef de mission for Team GB in London 2012.
“We have an historic opportunity ahead, when more than 500 of Britain’s most accomplished Olympic athletes will represent Team GB, at home, in the London 2012 Games.
“May I wish the RFU all the best in its search to find the appropriate candidate for this very important role for English rugby, going forward.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to wish Martin Johnson, his coaching team and all of his players every success, but especially for this year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, which all rugby fans are looking forward to.”