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.