Stuart Lancaster appointed England head coach

After four wins out of five in the RBS Six Nations 2012, Stuart Lancaster has been confirmed by the RFU as the permanent head coach of England.

After both Lancaster and Nick Mallett were interviewed this week by Ian Ritchie and the RFU, the committee have decided to back the former Leeds Director of Rugby after his impressive few months in the job. The decision was made by Ritchie, Rob Andrew, Conor O’Shea and Richard Hill this morning, who then contacted Mallett to let him know that he had missed out.

He will take charge up until the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and reportedly be allowed to assemble a coaching team consisting of whoever he wants, meaning a lengthy battle between England and Saracens for the services of Andy Farrell is imminent, although the Saracens coach is under contract at the club for two more years. Another coach who could potentially come on board is former All Black coach Wayne Smith.

The RFU press release is below:

Lancaster, who guided England to second place in the 2012 RBS 6 Nations, becomes permanent Head Coach with immediate effect following unanimous RFU Board ratification this morning.

Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said: “We have been through a rigorous and global selection process and are confident that Stuart is the right person to lead England Rugby forward into the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He has shown throughout the RBS 6 Nations and subsequently in both interview and other conversations I, as chairman of the advisory panel, have had with him that he has the skills and vision needed in the England Head Coach.

“I would also like to thank the advisory panel for their time and invaluable advice during the course of the process. I have been very lucky to be able to draw upon great rugby expertise and for that I am grateful.

“I am sure everyone in England will join me in congratulating Stuart on his appointment. He can be assured of my support and everyone in the Union as he embarks on what we all hope will be a successful period for English rugby.”

The 42-year-old Cumbrian said: “I am immensely honoured and proud to accept this role. From the hundreds of messages I received during the Six Nations I know what supporting England means to millions of people and I am privileged to be involved. The players, coaches and the management were superb during the tournament and it’s down to them that we made such positive steps from when we first met up in Leeds. The challenge now is to take this squad and the players we will see emerge forward to 2015. It is one that I can’t wait to get stuck into.

“We have a massive task ahead of us in South Africa this summer and we have 37 games before that first World Cup match on home soil, so every second counts in developing players who can win that tournament – which has to be the ultimate aim.

“I want to thank Ian and the panel for giving me the chance to explain my vision for England Rugby and, with their backing, I feel very positive about the future.”
Full confirmation will come later today from the RFU.

28 thoughts on “Stuart Lancaster appointed England head coach

  1. Following the arrival of my HC QF tickets this morning, this is turning into a very good day. Great news. But as a Saracens fan, I really don’t want to lose Andy Farrell. But for the greater good of English rugby, I guess I could live with it.

  2. Before the announcement, I couldn’t decide who I wanted, and now Lancaster is confirmed, I’m still not sure.

    For ‘We have been through a rigorous and global selection process’ read ‘We have just gone with the wave of public consensus again’.

    Not convinced they’ve got this right…

  3. I echo Hutch’s concerns. I wish SL all the best, but we have just appointed someone on the basis of their honeymoon period. I would feel better about it if SL recognised his shortcomings and appointed Wayne Smith – a great coach who has been there and done it. However it has been reported that SL rejected bringing anyone else in and will retain his slimmed down team of Rowntree and Farrell. NH rugby is not in the rudest of health at the moment and some SH expertise, especially someone as renowned as Smith would have been welcome and alleyed the fears of those of us who were not part of the populist concensus. We have a tough summer ahead and an even tougher autumn. The media have forced the RFU’s hand and no doubt they are ready to bite it off as soon as the honeymoon is over.

    1. “would feel better about it if SL recognised his shortcomings and appointed Wayne Smith” – absobloodyexactly. It’s a fairly simple step but it will make all the difference. It’s not just about his experience and track record – he’s from a different world than the other three, all of whom fit the mould of fairly quiet and modest, humble but also pretty smart guys. Having some diversity in that team is important and will change the relationship with the players. I can imagine SL feeling a little threatened (let’s face it, Smith’s CV is at least as impressive than SL’s) but he needs to be given the confidence to go for it.

      Notwithstanding this, a great day for England Rugby. Very happy!

  4. First of all, i think it is the right appointment, he ticked every box during the 6N apart from winning the thing. I don’t think there were any guarantees Mallet would do any better than that.

    Secondly, after his backroom staff have been appointed the next key appointment is Lancaster’s successor as Saxons coach, expanding the role to cover some of the junior teams as well. Whoever is put in this job should be the prime candidate to take over from Lancaster whenever that might be, developing with the players that they are likely to be managing in the full England coach position. Overlooked in all this is despite their ability to mess up just about everything in the game, the RFU have brought into their ranks a highly capable coach and promoted from within. I highly doubt this was intentional or part of a long term plan but the template is now there.

    Finally, apparently 5 live are reporting Woodward is coming back in a senior role. Now that would be interesting!

    1. Kem, I didn’t think I could be any happier today, but if you’re right about SCW then I think I might just piss my pants in joy.

  5. England had a tricky problem here. Had Lancaster lost all 5 games nobody would really have batted an eyelid as it was just an interim appointment while the RFU found the correct man for the job to take them through to 2015.

    It was a win/win situation for Lancaster, and you have to say he certainly grabbed it with both hands. However the pressure was off to a certain degree and now the honeymoon period of the 6N (where the results didnt really matter due to said ongoing coach hunt) is certainly over and results are now critical.

    If things to dont go his way now that the pressure is on, i can’t help feeling that the backlash from the media is going to be worse for Lancaster than it would for a ‘name’ coach like Mallett due to his lack of experience at the very top level and the inevitable comaprisons that will be drawn between him and Johnson (i.e. two inexperienced coaches appointed to the top job in succession).

    But from a Welsh perspective, he impressed me during the 6N and i wish him all the very best during his time in charge.

  6. I, too, was slightly concerned that this was an appointment made following what is being deemed as a honeymoon period. However, from what I’ve read so far, Lancaster has not said that the coaching team will remain unchanged, so I’m hoping that leaves room for Wayne Smith who would unquestionably benefit the setup.

    Strangely enough, I was reading Martin Johnson’s autobiography again this morning and came across the following paragraph about when Woodward was appointed coach:

    “He is a real ‘big picture’ man and an excellent communicator, and he would have impressed the Twickenham interviewers with his innovative thinking, his ambition and vision for where England should be and how they could get there.”

    This is not the first time experience has been overlooked for an England job!

    1. Yeah, don’t you just get the impression that SCW was something of a role model to SL? Not in every regard, SL is a little more down to earth, but I kinda think he got some of his attitudes and guiding principles from him.

  7. As an Irishman, I have no idea if he’s the right man for the job but he certainly seems to know what he’s doing. I hope he lets the tache grow though. It looks good on him. He will only succeed with the tache so maybe I should hope he doesn’t grow it! :)

  8. Lancaster is the right man. The players believe in him and like him, as he does vice versa with his squad. He’s also changed England from a team where all the old buddys are picked to one where anyone who’s playing good enough gets a chance (cough, cough, Steffan Armitage). Rowntree is obviously taking the pack forward and Farrells defense strategy is awesome. Now all we need is some of that scary southern hemisphere clinical attacking, enter Wayne Smith. Smith seems like a guy who is actually excited about the talent coming through in England and he obviously thinks he can move them forward. In his own blog he practically stated if he was made attack coach then he could have this english backline tearing the Boks to shreds. Exciting times chaps, very exciting.

  9. I definitely think that Wayne Smith would add something. Fairly pleased that Lancaster has got the job. Fairly depressed to see that someone two weeks younger than me is now England manager. Maybe my chance has gone……..!

  10. Lancaster has done a great job with England. Let’s hope he has the bottle to drop for good the scumbag – Dylan Hartley.

    1. Why take a direct swipe at someone when no one knows what actually happened. If Ferris fish hooked him then he deserved to have is finger bitten. There is no video evidence so no one except those that were on the pitch deserve to pass judgement. It’s a very odd that Hartley would bite someone. Has anyone tried to eat a piece of toast with a gum shield in? You don’t get very far. It’s not as clear cut as the Clark/ Hawkins case. I don’t think Clark meant to break his arm as Clark is such a physical player. But he still did it and probably tried to cause Hawkins some sort of discomfort. He deserves his punishment. I wouldn’t say Hartley was a scumbag, his disciplinary record has been exemplary since the gouging incident. Just young and stupid at first. Hell, if we’re taking unjustified swipes at players my list is like bronsons rap sheet. Good job we’re all level headed people who make accurate judgements ;)

  11. I think it’s the right apointment for most of the reasons already stated, though I would like to see Wayne Smith bought in to the team.

    I also think its a great apointment because what is shows is that a coach who has been through the RFU system, and earnt his spurs in the Saxons, can progress up to the top job – many sports e.g football make lots of noises about grooming ebglish coaches via the various age group/second tier national teams which never seem to bear fruit – at least here we have proof that the RFU has been doing seething right!

  12. Definitely the right appointment. Better than appointing Mallett on the strength of a good spell as Boks coach in the late 90’s. Since then he has not really taken Italy forward and once picked Mauro Bergamasco at scrum half only to realise after 15 minutes that it was a farce.

    Anyone who’s left any “honeymoon period” comments on here should be made to watch recordings of our RWC games again. You’ve clearly forgotten just how dire we were as recently as last October!

    I agree that Wayne Smith would be a great addition. All RWC winners have shown the ability to mix it up a bit and win against different playing styles and a bit of SH nous would help us against the more physical SH sides come 2015.

    I do agree with Hutch that the RFU have bowed to popular opinion coming from all directions. Regardless of the how and the why, I do think they’ve made the right decision though.

    1. Regardless of our performances in the RWC this 6n has been SL’s honeymoon period. Press onside despite some poor performances albeit good results, and he had nothing to lose. I hope the reports about him spurning Smith are not true. The current coaching team lack experience and Smith ticks a lot of boxes.

  13. Yes it is a worry if he doesn’t fancy Smith onboard,development in attack is clearly needed.But England,under Lancaster have have stridden away from the emotional vacuum of recent times.Glance back to see how awful they were.On and off the pitch we are again a team.As to how good,well,give it time.Lancaster has his limitations,he’s only human,but Johnson achieved nothing of value.Mallet? A forwards dominated ten man game behind a big price tag,a C.V. Lets back Stuart Lancaster,the team clearly do.

    1. I think that’s harsh on Johnson. Home and away victories against Australia and a 6N title is hardly nothing. The media seem to be rewriting history. Johnson’s reign was not as bad as people are saying and likewise Lancaster’s is not as good as others are saying now. That is not to justify the previous regimes faults or to diminish the presents achievements. I just think we need a little more perspective.

  14. The right decision, which given the mess that often accompanies any decision making process in this country is no mean accolade. I hope that this will turn England’s fortunes around after some uncertain years, a situation that owed much to sthe disappointing attitudes from some of the squad. I could well understand Martin Johnson’s frustrations, he sought to treat his players like adults, alas some preferred to behave like schoolboys.

  15. Well done Mr Lancaster! Remarkable personal achievement. We could not risk losing what Lancaster has brought to the team, so I’m happy he is staying. Personally I think Lancaster is part of the solution and not the entire solution and I’m not convinced a Lancaster, Rowntree and Farrell (assuming liberated from Sarries as his Rugby Club interview alluded to) trio can take us to being the best team in the world on and off the pitch. 

    Extreme example to illustrate the point. When your car is broken it goes to the garage for a mechanic to fix, when it’s time to design a faster and more efficient car to team to do it isn’t the one from the local garage.

    The England repair work has been done, now we need the innovation and relentless pursuit of progress and perfection on and off the pitch.  I would like to see the team augmented with a Wayne Smith calliber coach to bring us the innovation on the pitch, and I would not be dissapointed to see Sir CW involved again to help us be the best team off the pitch. Sir CW’s involvement would not be about looking backwards and what he did in 2003, it’s more to do with his recent non Rugby experience. In overseeing the whole gamut of Olympic sports he will have seen ideas in elite sport to develop speed, strength, power, endurance, agility and technique. Therefore I can’t think of anyone better to identify, bring in and adapt the best of breed of all of these for rugby.

    Without these roles being done successfully (regardless of who does them) I think the future is a hardworking team, that give anyone a hard game, but aren’t taking the game forward and can not consistently challenge the world leaders.

    One thing for sure though, I don’t think the Johnson era debacle will ever be repeated under Lancaster. It’s a step in the right direction, but not the whole journey.

  16. Lancaster did his job this six nations. He was too successful to be replaced.

    Forget about Clive Woodward, forget about Martin Johnson. England’s obsession with comparison to bygone eras will only build pressure on the team. Cut it loose fellas.

    1. MJ era is currently relevant, it provides the context for why we are all so happy about being a worse team than we were in the 2011 6N. But it is something we can move on from and forget.

      CW remains relevant, not for some English “weren’t the days of the empire great” obsession of living in the past, but because if you fail to understand why something was successful in the past your chances of being successful in the future are greatly diminished. Sure we can win RWC 2015 without CW involved, however we also have to recognise that since he departed we have lacked the lateral thinking innovator to find ways of giving us a competetive advantage. This is what we need to find again, whoever does it.

      1. I agree, the lessons of both eras are still relevant (as all history is), but the question ‘what would Clive do?’ is not.

        Perhaps I’m just sick to death of reading about him in the papers as if he was some kind of panacea for everything wrong at any given point in time (although he also likes to put forward this view at least once a year). I just hope that if England lose a match or even the series in South Africa this year, the sports journalists will be able to refrain from resorting to a theme of ‘this would never happen in Clive’s day’.

  17. Stop the comparisons and let Lancaster get on with the job his way, if you want to bang on about Woodward yes he was successful and built a World Cup winning team but there was no exit strategy it was great at the time but we have been in limbo for a long time since.

    Johnson in my opinion was plain awful and why is this 6 nations team worse than the 2011 one, most of that team dismally failed in The World Cup I hasten to add, Johnson was an awesome Captain but a totally inept coach.

    This is a new era and a new team (for gods sake please get rid of Mat Stevens though) lets get behind the man and behind the team and hopefully we can move onto bigger and better things.

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