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Alastair Eykyn's blog: December 2011 Archives
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December 2011 Archives

Devoted Wilkinson was a unique talent

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So it's goodbye Jonny. English rugby is much the poorer for his departure but the time had come and the time was right.

The new coaching team of Stuart Lancaster, Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell need to focus on the next World Cup in 2015 and finding the next Jonny Wilkinson. The search will not be easy. Wilkinson is a once-in-a-generation player.

He will forever be remembered for the drop goal - off his wrong foot - that brought England their first World Cup that famous November night in Sydney 2003. But he offered his country so much more than just a great kicking game.

Lancaster is a welcome breath of fresh air

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There was a very different feel to Twickenham on Thursday. There were smiles, there was laughter, there was genuine warmth between England's new coaching staff and members of the media. It was a most welcome change.

Levity has been in short supply at the Rugby Football Union recently. So too, integrity and straight talking - which made Stuart Lancaster's arrival at the top table all the more significant. England's new interim head coach was courteous, engaging, passionate and organised.

He came across as highly motivated, and fully across his brief. Time - and results - will reveal whether he is up to the job.

Lancaster has been parachuted into the role to breathe life back into English rugby. He spoke of the need to select players not only of talent, but of character; of the need "to be the best, and beat the best". He talked tough on discipline. "Behaviour shapes performance," he said.

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I'm Alastair Eykyn and I am a rugby commentator for BBC Radio and TV. My job also involves having my nose to the ground for all the interesting rugby stories. You can follow me on Twitter @5LiveRugby.

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About this blog

I'm Alastair Eykyn and I am a rugby commentator for BBC Radio and TV. My job also involves having my nose to the ground for all the interesting rugby stories. You can follow me on Twitter @5LiveRugby.

Here are some tips on taking part and our house rules

For the latest updates across BBC blogs,
visit the Blogs homepage.

Subscribe to Alastair Eykyn's blog

You can stay up to date with Alastair Eykyn's blog via these feeds.

If you aren't sure what RSS is you'll find our beginner's guide to RSS useful.

Rugby headlines

Visit the BBC Sport website