Uncertainty surrounding the future of Andre Bester still hangs over Rotherham Titans, much to the detriment of the team ahead of their South Yorkshire derby with Doncaster on Saturday.
Bester yesterday met with club officials for second time in three days to answer charges of breaching club discipline that could result in his dismissal.
It is understood the South African-born head coach has asked for more time to defend himself and the meeting will resume today.
Bester is charged with a number of counts of indiscipline, all of which are believed to have originated from a disagreement between himself and club officials over the way he dealt with forwards coach Ben Wade, who is no longer employed in that position.
The fallout from that pre-season row has snowballed, with Rotherham moving to within striking distance of the Championship’s top four amid a backdrop of animosity off the field.
On Saturday they welcome Doncaster for a keenly-anticipated derby, with the players not knowing whether Bester will continue taking training this afternoon or whether he will be dismissed.
The whole issue is becoming an embarrassment for the proud club who should be preparing for the visit of their neighbours with relish at the prospect of enhancing their top-four credentials.
Titans director Nick Cragg said: “It is going on longer than anybody wanted. Nobody wants to be in this position where there is so much uncertainty, particularly in a week when we are preparing to take on our local rivals.”
One-time England lock Alex Codling remains the outstanding candidate for the head coaching job, should it come available, though there remains uncertainty as to whether he will be able to leave his position as head of sport at Trinity School in Croydon.
Sale Sharks have confirmed their former rugby director Bryan Redpath will remain at the club as part of a revamped coaching staff.
Redpath’s new role was announced by Sale owner Brian Kennedy as head coach, after his removal from the rugby director’s position. He will be part of a newly-formed rugby strategy management board that also comprises Kennedy, Sale chief executive Steve Diamond – who will take charge of team affairs – ex-Sale boss and former New Zealand coach John Mitchell, plus businessman Ian Blackhurst.
Chris Ashton will miss England’s autumn international against Fiji after being suspended by a RFU disciplinary panel.
He was banned for one week after being cited for a dangerous tackle on Northampton wing Vasily Artemyev.