Acting CEO Stuart Metcalfe has announced that by Christmas, The Man Who Would Be King will be in place to lead England through to the Six Nations, and possibly beyond. But who should it be? Below, are the three outstanding candidates:
CV: Bath, Ireland, England A, England
Unceremoniously removed from his position of Head Coach following the 2007 Rugby World Cup, that Ashton’s name has been linked with the interim position has raised a few smiles given the way Rob Andrew oversaw his departure. It’s also confusing. Ashton was blamed for England’s problems early on in the 2007 tournament, with the turnaround credited to the senior members of the squad. Despite this, Ashton remains respected by many in the game, especially at Bath, and would be a positive appointment. The combination of his open attacking style of coaching, combined with some of England’s bright young talent, is attractive.
CV: NEC Green Rockets, Auckland Blues, Italy, Japan
At Twickenham a whole two days ago, unfortunately on the losing side, Kirwan voiced in the build-up to last week’s Heroes Rugby Challenge that he would be keen to guide England in the short-term. Four years coaching in Japan saw Kirwan lead the Blossoms to a Pacific Nations Cup in his final year in charge, along with drawing 23 all with Canada at the Rugby World Cup. Kirwan has stated his love of “risk and attack”, regardless of the structure at the RFU, and would as a result become England’s first foreign Head Coach.
CV: Leeds, England Saxons
In a sense the obvious choice given his position within the RFU, Lancaster has been working within the England set up since 2006. Two Churchill Cup victories with the England Saxons over the last two years mean that he has developed a close relationships with many of England’s young players who are now breaking into the senior side. One factor that works against Lancaster is his lack of experience at the top level. He took over at Leeds following relegation in 2006, a year to the day after they won the Powergen Cup at Twickenham, coping with the loss of Danny Care, Tom Palmer, Iain Balshaw, Gordon Bulloch and many more. Despite overseeing their promotion the following season, they were again relegated in 2008. Lancaster would be a gamble, but working alongside Graham Rowntree, what do England have to lose?
So there are your options. But who do you want to see in charge of England for the Six Nations? Vote below.