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Decision time looms for England

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Alastair Eykyn | 15:25 UK time, Thursday, 8 March 2012

The new Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie told reporters last week: “I don’t do complex. I only do simple.” In which case, the selection of England’s next full-time head coach could prove a testing one.

At its most basic, the search is about finding the right man for a very important job. But we all know that the appointment is not as straightforward as that.

Let’s look at the candidates, or at least those we know to be on the shortlist. There is the interim head coach Stuart Lancaster, former South Africa, Italy and Stade Francais coach Nick Mallett and Jake White, the man who led the Springboks to World Cup glory in 2007. 

Jake White

Jake White led South Africa to World Cup glory in 2007. Photo: Getty

There may be other candidates lurking in the background but, to the best of my knowledge, it is a shoot-out between these three.

Lancaster is in the midst of an extended audition. Put in charge for the Six Nations, he knows the job could well be a temporary one.

At the very worst, he returns to his former position with the RFU, in charge of the England Saxons and Elite Player Development.

By common consent, Lancaster has instilled a sense of responsibility in his squad that perhaps was lacking under the previous regime.

The negativity that followed the World Cup seems to have gone, too.

Lancaster has brought in new blood and has the respect of those around him. So far, it appears he has done little wrong.

What about the results? He has two wins and a defeat from three matches so far. The victories over Scotland and Italy were achieved away from home, both in filthy conditions and both gutsy - if not expansive and flamboyant - in style.

As for the defeat to Wales, it was narrow, with England displaying considerably more attacking intent at Twickenham than at Murrayfield and the Stadio Olimpico.

Mallett is an Englishman who played for and coached South Africa. Despite his English ancestry and Oxford education, he would probably be perceived as a “foreign” appointment. It matters to some.

As for his credentials, he coached the Springboks between 1997 and 2000, during which time they enjoyed a record 17 consecutive victories and reached the World Cup semi-finals in 1999. Mallett then moved to France, where he took Stade Francais to two domestic titles.

His next international job was with Italy, a four-year spell that came to an end when they were knocked out in the group stages of last year’s World Cup. During his time with the Azzurri, they beat Scotland, Argentina and, most memorably, France during last year’s Six Nations.

White, like Lancaster, is a teacher by trade. After winning the Under-21 World Championship with South Africa, he repeated the trick in 2007 with the senior squad. He also masterminded their victory in the 2004 Tri-Nations.

Since lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy, White has concentrated on coaching other coaches. He is now eight months into a four-year contract with the Canberra-based Super 15 side Brumbies. Whatever the RFU’s decision, White has promised his club he will see out the current season, which finishes in August.

So who should the RFU choose? How do they begin to measure an international rookie like Lancaster against the heavyweight CVs of Mallett and White? And when do they make the appointment?

Ritchie said last week a decision might be taken before the end of the Six Nations. He has since revised that statement, suggesting no appointment will be made until the championship is complete.

Having initially told Lancaster he would have the full five games to prove his worth, it only seems fair to make good on that promise.

Ritchie also mentioned he wants someone in place for the tour to South Africa this June, although he would be prepared to wait for the right man.

There are a number of thorny issues for the RFU to deal with. Firstly, if it appoints someone other than Lancaster, the rebuilding work must start again. A new man would want to establish his own culture, his own style, probably with his own coaches and his own players.

The RFU is unlikely to foist a coaching team on the likes of Mallett and White, in the way they did with Johnson. Yet if the RFU chooses Lancaster, it is opting for another man with limited experience of coaching at the very top, just like Johnson.

Does it really want Lancaster in charge during arguably the most important period in its history, with the World Cup due to take place on these shores in 2015?

Perhaps the RFU would feel happier with a seasoned hand on the tiller, someone who knows instinctively how to handle the unique pressures and scrutiny of international rugby? Supporters of Mallett and White maintain that their men fall into this category.

The questions facing the RFU are numerous. Each candidate has qualities. Each would like the job. Who should the RFU go for?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Difficult to start speculating too soon, Lancaster is only half way through his "audition". On the face of it, White and Mallett are better qualified but what if England win their next two games? I know people will say that's unlikely and I agree, but who knows?

  • Comment number 2.

    This tells us nothing that we didn't already know. Surely there could have been a little more insight and opinion.

  • Comment number 3.

    I honestly do not know the English coach well but of the other two, White is the man to go for. He has also taken the Lions franchise (under a management consulting position) and turned them into Currie Cup winners for 2011 and installing structures and coaches to take the team forward.
    He is a man who has management and technical skills that make him stand head and shoulders above the rest.

  • Comment number 4.

    I thought all things had changed at the RFU but there are still some worryingly contradictory statements coming out - decision on appointment before the end of the Six Nations, then a decision before the S.A. tour now they might wait till after. Do they know what they want and when? I fear in their attempts to avoid making the same mistake again they will pass over Lancaster, but the situation is not comparable. Johnson not only had no international coaching experience he had no coaching experience at all. Lancaster does have that experience and has talked more sense in the last couple of months than most coaches do in a year.

  • Comment number 5.

    @3 Interesting thought, but possibly those qualities are the ideal for a "higher" position in the RFU. Personally, if we're taking England back to the basics, my gut feeling is that Stuart Lancaster might well be the man to go with as coach, I like his attitude, he's not scared to make changes or take risks and the players aren't going to run things. If you only go for the "big names", there won't be any new ones...

  • Comment number 6.

    If the RFU could cock this up they will...saving grace is the 5 man committee who are well respected and I am hopeful will pick the best man for the job.
    I think Stuart Lancaster has done really well and I respect him hugely,Alistairs article is weak although I think he is normally a great commentator with good opinions.
    Be realistic for the largest rugby playing nation on the planet(Argentina technically has more players)we should be much better organised...the RFU has been for years a disaster and we have a World Cup coming up in 4 years time in England and we need to make huge steps forward ...we should have the best coach available period....Mr White is right up there and Mr Mallett aint half bad either. In that order, either would move us forward hugely.

  • Comment number 7.

    The RFU has been experimenting with managers for eight years now. Even when we get a decent manager its doubtful he will last 2 years. Does the RFU know whats its doing? No is my answer. I hope its not Lancaster. I dont care how good he is reagards all the speel from the media and ex captains. Truth is at international level he is just another experiment. We have 3 years until the world cup. We need a manager thats has taken a team to the world cup before. No more experiments please. I would vote for Nick Mallett myself. I will dispair if Lancaster gets it. If he gets the job why did we get rid of MJ or Aston before that.

  • Comment number 8.

    Rugby Remains one of the few sports where national pride is absolute

    I cannot believe we are even contemplating appointing a South African (to be clear Mallet is South african) I won't even consider O'sullivan, i think this may just be an early april fools joke.

    As has been pointed out 2015 is a home world cup and to have some SA geezer mumbling his way through god save the queen, whilst trying to look like he cares, would be sacrilege of the highest order.

    lets not forget Lancaster has been in the RFU set up a long time, and the experience of the ridiculous politics that exists therein is far more useful than coaching a side to the WC semis 15 years ago in the amateur era, or beating Fiji, Argentina and a pretty average England side to win a world cup.

    Yet again the morons at HQ are going to over complicate a simple situation, appoint someone that really couldnt give a hoot, and end up in a mess when it doesnt pan out.

    if this sounds familiar its because the footballers have just realised that foreign coaches care about the money and thats about it.

    No disrespect to messers Mallet and White, but would be better served to use their skills developing nations such as Scotland or Japan, than interfereing with English rugby.

    (couldnt resist a dig at Scotland, sorry)

  • Comment number 9.

    After my previous post, it occurred that I may have come up with a cracking team. White as "RFU Director of all things that actually relate to the game" and Lancaster as "Head Coach of England teams"

  • Comment number 10.

    It would be interesting to know if the potential style of rugby is something that the candidates will be judged on. That, along with a mandate to include young, exciting talent should be a priority.

    I want to see England win in 2015, but it needs to be an England team playing exceptional rugby, not just in the Saracen-style. If we didn't have the talent to win it the right way then fair enough, but given the quality of our under 20s and recent graduates from that set-up we have to do away with the old forward dominated game once and for all, and there is no better time than now.

    Whoever is appointed must have a clear plan for England to progress towards 2015 and beyond.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think we have to accept now that after eight years of experiments with English managers,we do not have anyone capable of doing the job. The players deserve better and if that is a coach from abroad so be it.
    Its rubbish to say its got to be an Englishman. the truth is we dont have an englishman with the skills and experiance to do the job. Thats the fault of the RFU these last eight years in my view. Please not another manager that has not done the job before. If Lancaster gets the job I give up on England.

  • Comment number 12.

    @8 - interesting but I'm not sure anyone can complain about the coach mumbling the words of God Save the Queen when a good portion of the team are not English either..........

  • Comment number 13.

    Jake White is the standout coach to get the job, dont get me wrong Lancaster has done an excellent Job but Jake White is in a different league, he has coached a world cup winning side, has dealt with the hirachy of South African Rugby and the South African way of playing is not too dissimilar to Englands. Wait as long as possible but land the man. On another note we (English Public and RFU) need to give full support, the English game has far to many foreigners playing the club game and I include Welsh, Scotts and Irish in my assessment. There needs to be a limit set. for example how many quality English 7's or 10's play regularly in the premiership?

  • Comment number 14.

    Hartley, Botha, Tuilagi, Barritt, true

    However

    North, Davies and Cuthbert are all English

    And New Zealand, well you might as well call it the Pacific Islanders 1st Team plus Carter and Mccaw

    The player thing is just part of the modern game, but one who doesn't perform is easily replaced, its more difficult with coaches...

    Also in the case of all of the above, the players have lived in the country they represent for sigificant periods of time at least.

    The coach is the figure head and if he (or she, lets be PC) is not english then its a pretty poor state of affairs.

  • Comment number 15.

    @14 - true and accepted - I'm not suggesting the whole XV are foreign I just think it's double standards.
    If we pick the best players regardless of where they were born surely we must pick the best coach.
    For what it's worth I think that's White.

  • Comment number 16.

    jezz tanner



    your forgot toby faletau!



    He's about as un-welsh as it gets....


    I dont see why England gets so much stick due to a few foreign born players...............watching Dave Denton's post match interview after the England/Scot match made me chuckle, the guy is a South African through and through.....

  • Comment number 17.

    Mallet and White both seem a bit overconfident/headstrong to me could end up a Villa Boas situation. I think each international job is different and Gatland has worked well for Wales but wouldn't fit into the RFU setup so readily, For me the English job is too much for one person and I think Lancaster defintely for the long-term but maybe a partnership with someone else for now. Kirwan perhaps. He seems like an amiable, broadminded bloke with a lot to bring. Obviously it depends on personal relationships but a setup like the Henry/Hansen combo could be the way forward for England in my humble opinion...

  • Comment number 18.

    I don't think Lancaster is an experiment at all. Sometimes making good decisions is about timing and luck and England may well have don that with the appointment of Lancaster. Appointing the right man for the wrong reasons. I don't want us to get like football were the only name is a big name.

    I am going to trot out the old "Woodward wasn't a big name" cliche. Lancaster has done everything required of him up to now. Honestly, could any coach 3 games into a rebuilding period do anything else, I include Mallet and White in that.


    I quite like Mallet and believe he could do a good job for England. I think he would "fit" with England in a way White cannot. He tried to get Italy playing a more expansive game with a shallow pool of talent and was relatively successful.

    With Respect to White, what has changed in four months? He didn't want it in December so he has had his chance and if we do bring him in then he will not be in place until September and we now have only three years to the world cup and have to start rebuilding again.Ironically I think White would coach a more English way in that it would be pack-led.

    For me I would like to see Lancaster given it but he needs to surround himself with the best people. Failing that I would not mind Mallet. We'll soon find out.

  • Comment number 19.

    @16 - certainly no stick from me for England picking foreign players - as everyone points out all teams are doing it.
    My only point was that Coaches must be treated the same as players - pick the best available.

  • Comment number 20.

    # rulechangecrazy - you're comments aren't consistent.

    England needs a period of stability, to build a system and an experienced squad. Forget 2015 - everyone recognises that you don't win a world cup at your first attempt. Woodward was a pont in case. Its losing that helps you understand the extra that is needed.

    If the appointment is about not loosing face in 2015 appoint White/Mallett on a 3 year contract. They will go for pragmatism (quick results) to satisfy, but will walk away with English Rugby no further on.

    Alternatively, it is about ensuring that long term we are building something sustainable, developing coaches, developing the understanding of the squad, fashioning a style of play,a 7 year project to win in 2019.

    In footballing terms, do we want to be Man U or Chelsea? Lancaster has to be the choice because he will be committed to doing all the things that English rugby needs to happen. Pride in the jersey, respecting the privilege it is to play for your country, not allowing professional players on the pitch to be amateurs off it.

    Lancaster is a highly qualified coach, committed to developing players, and ensuring that only the best represent the country. The handling of Danny Care is clear evidence of this.

    However, if we get a short term coach with only one focus - the next world cup, will they really take the hard decisions for the sake of the English Rugby? Not even Martin Johnson dared. Lancaster has and in doing so shows that in many ways he is the only man RFU should be talking to.

  • Comment number 21.

    I find the debate around nationality tedious, personally. Surely the key agenda should be to hire the best person for the job, irrespective of nationality ? Wales are playing some of the best rugby in the world currently, if I were Welsh I would be very content, rather than worrying about Gatland being from New Zealand.

    Being an avid cricket fan, also, then the elation beating India last year and being established as the number 1 test playing team, was in no way dampened by Andy Flower being Zimbabwean by birth. For me it is surely about getting the best out of the available talent.

    My hope would be for Jake White to take the position, but to include Stuart Lancaster either on the coaching staff or keep him closely in the loop running the Saxons. That way Lancaster can pick up the necessary experience ready for a clearer succession plan, rather than being in this position again a few years down the line.

    If by the end of the 2015 World Cup, the biggest grumble with an England victory is the nationality of the coach, then I think I'll not lose too much sleep (especially considering the debacle of New Zealand last year !).

  • Comment number 22.

    I wonder if anyone at the RFU has considered the possibility of keeping lancaster on as head coach, and employing White in a managerial role? With White's ability to teach coaches, surely keeping someone as promising as Lancaster under his wing for the future should be considered?

  • Comment number 23.

    @22: Good shout there.

  • Comment number 24.

    Hmmm toughy,

    From what I've seen - Lancaster AT least stays within the RFU setup in his old role with the Saxons squad, regardless of the 6Ns results this year - that's a minimum. Added to this he should be given a role under / alongside the Head coach that's chosen. The advantage here is that Lancaster has a foot in both camps (testing I know, but Shaun Edwards did so with Wasps / Wales for a period) and gains top flight England coaching skills in the RWC build-up, while structuring and 'designing' the upcoming England side.

    If then, as some have proposed, either White or Mallett have 'irreconcilable differences' with the RFU, he gives them a plan B, rather than some parachuted emergency new manager 'taking ball standing still' ahead of the world cup AND he has had a hand in gearing Saxons to his own vision for the future...

    Think there'd be more passion from Mallett personally, get the feeling Mr White might be too autocratic to 'rub along' with the RFU too well.

    Whatever happens, the RFU have to keep Lancaster on side for the long term, plenty of foreign Unions will have seen his work with England now - keep him in the fold...

    Whatever happens Lancaster has made an impressive start to his involvement with the full England team (whether that's head coaching sooner or later) - and that from a dyed in the marrow Wales supporter...

  • Comment number 25.

    I think whatever the results Lancaster has done a really good job, particualrly after the unlucky loss to Wales. If he lacks the experience, I'd like to see him go on from here and get that experience and return to do the job in the not too distant future. Can't beat a bit of Cumbrian discipline to sort out a rugby team!

  • Comment number 26.

    Nice to have confirmation of the fact that this is the same Mallett who excited me so much when playing number eight for Oxford.

    He looked like a real England prospect and I think played for Bath in its golden age. Though he did play for and coach South Africa, I think that he has enough Englishness to have real insight and appreciation of the kind of current English squad. In many ways I think that South Africa suffered from his respect for England. Our daughter was at Oxford in the nineties and reported seeing some huge green-jacketed men being strolled through her college just a few days before the Springboks were due in Twickenham.. Rather like Ashton' s historic tour for the England team before the historic game at Croke Park I think that Mallett's "historical excursion" backfired. Players can sometimes feel the weight of history too much, and England achieved a famous victory against the Springboks. Was this match not the key turning point in our attitude towards the SH as almost invincible?

    But Mallett was overall a successful Springboks coach and therefore has several advantages over Lancaster..especially more and higher level experience both as a player and as a coach.

    Cass

  • Comment number 27.

    As a Welshman domiciled in England, whoever takes on the England role permanently can only work with the players he's got, and since the golden crop who achieved success in 2003, England has not produced a true world class player. Plenty of promise for sure, not least among the current youngsters; Tuilagi and Farrell for instance, with the latter impressing me much more v Wales than I had anticipated. The forwards though just don't have the grunt of old. Croft on Lions' form at least arguably the only world class challenger is a different breed. Although presented as the heavyweight candidates I wonder how aware of RFU politics Mallett and White really are? The provenance of the latter prior to taking the senior SA role looks oddly similar to Lancaster as he was U21 coach. Like some promotable deputies Lancaster may actually know the ropes better, and therefore have a clearer understanding of the pitfalls and what needs to be done. All the pre interim appointment concern was over his ability to handle the media & PR side, which he seems to have dealt with admirably. Now the negative focus is on coaching, previously perceived as his strong suit. It has to be sensible to see 6 Nations out. Whatever is said it is a results business; two wins and he'll be nigh on impossible to shift; one is a prerequisite but leaves things in the balance; two defeats.... Reflecting on England's 2003 success, I reiterate that they had a truly outstanding generation of players that Woodward organised and Robinson coached. But the 2005 Lions experience suggests in footballing terms that maybe Sir Clive was more of a Revie with one great team at Leeds, rather than a Shankly who built a succession of teams and a management dynasty at Liverpool. Indeed Woodward's prevarication continuing post 2003 reflected by that of some senior players eg Dallglio and Dawson could be seen as the source of England's subsequent decline.

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't get why we have to have an English coach. Especially if there are better men available for the job. An Englishman would be ideal, but I won't complain if he isn't English.

    That being said my choice would be Lancaster. Waiting for White could damage any momentum. Will he continue what Lancaster has started, or want to shake it all up and do it his way?

    Compairing Lancaster to Johnson is just silly. Lancaster had coached all but about 3 of the English team before he took the job. He knows the players, he know the emerging talent. Truth is our Saxon side is pretty good, and our U20s side is very good. I would worry White and Mallet not being up to date with emerging talent. But I could be worng, they may have done their homework.

    All in all I would like to see Lancaster continue the good work he started, especially if we get a win v Ireland or France!

  • Comment number 29.

    Jake White won the World Cup with the most experienced squad possible, its hardly a mandate for building a youthful English squad in to world beaters. And while both Mallet and White might have a more experienced resume neither are stand-out candidates unless you take the "no one get fired for taking the safe option" route.

    Stuart Lancaster does not compare to Martin Johnson, Lancaster is a proven coach worthy of his opportunity and to me, he's taking that opportunity and the RFU should have a long, hard look at him before passing him over for a "safe" option. If his international experience is a risk, then find him a mentor that can support him (McGeechan maybe?). I personally think he's worth the risk, irrespective of results to follow, his track record to date has been good, his progress with this young/inexperienced team impressive, and his vision for the future sounds right to me.

    The RFU though are still a bunch of fools and half-wits, so we'll end up with some has-been and waste a generation of players ....

  • Comment number 30.

    #27 Your comments regarding England's 2003 team beg the question - were they world class players waiting to happen or did Woodward, Robinson et al coach them from very good into world-beating ? Whatever the answer, if I were one of the gang of five, I would be looking for a coach with a really strong sense of purpose, and the desire and ability to make things happen regardless of what the blazers get up to.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 24: I think you raise a very good point re Lancaster's retention; if he doesn't get the job only a fool would assume he would happily step back in to the shadows and wait his turn; keeping him might be harder than some people think - not that that should influence the real decision of course but what a waste if he were to be lost to the England set-up completely!

  • Comment number 32.

    #29 Unfortunately the statistics show that the best way to win is to make the smallest number of mistakes, and I suspect that both Mr Lancaster and the RFU are well aware of that.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ 8, 18 & 20 I totally agree

    I am not interested in Mallet or White at all.
    Sven and Capello all over again. (yes i realise this is rugby)
    Either appointment would mean an immdiediate loss of momentum and a waste of what feels like genuine public excitement and connection with this england team.

    Lancaster is a very experienced coach who knows the RFU and his players inside out. He has restored belief and pride in a very short amount of time.
    He has achieved this through assembling a good coaching team around him, paying great attention to detail in his preperation and making the big calls when needed.

    Lancaster is media savvy and astute. I have been very impressed with the way he has motivated this group of players and with the creative methods he has used to get them playing for each other and the shirt.

    I feel like we have unearthed one hell of a coach - and we know it..
    Yet, we conitinue to court the supposed big boys as we have the resouces to tempt them and we think that we can buy thier past achievements in time for the RWC

    No thanks. Let White and Mallet move on to the next big job / cheque.
    We have committment, passion, creation and belief. It is ours. We are developing. We are building something of our own.
    Let it grow.

  • Comment number 34.

    The best comment from the 6Nations in my view regards foreign players, it came from Chris Patterson Scotland v England. Talking about Denton, a" Scottish player" no8, at half time.
    I quote " He was born and brought up in Zimbabwe, although he is Scottish through and through"
    Its not just England that use players from abroad, so why is it only England seem to get stick over it?

  • Comment number 35.

    I cant belive that there are people on here that say the 2015 WC does not matter. Lancaster is an experiment. He has never done the job before. New managers take more than one world cup to win it, as Clive Woodward proved.
    For me the 2015 WC is everything. Its here in England. I dont want to be made a fool of again. Not here in England. You cannot talk up Lancaster to me. He has played 3 lost one should have lost all 3. His disregard for anything thats gone before proves he is a names out of the hat manager. A kid with a new toy. The players deserve better. In my view Mallett should have been made manager before the 6Nations. Lancaster is an experiment too far after the last eight years of temp managers.

  • Comment number 36.

    I would just like to start by saying that all the press coverage and unfounded stories are unfair on Lancaster who is trying to do a hard job under the spotlight as it is, he will not be a thick skinned as some of the other names being mentioned as he has not had the same level of media exposure before.

    For example for the last few days on the BBC website Jake White has been the headline, last night the main story was that Jake White would team up with Wayne Smith in charge of England, this morning it's now revealed that Jake White has ruled himself out. During all of this Stuart Lancaster has had to prepare the team for a career defining match this weekend (both for himself and a few of the players).

    If I were the RFU I would keep Lancaster in a head coach role along with his team. They are obviously doing a good job and need a full year to see if any further improvements can be made to a promising start. I would then look to put an experienced campaigner in a Manager/Director of Rugby type role to remove the media and non-playing aspects from Lancaster. Ideally this would be Nick Mallett from the various lists I've seen as he is able to deal with the media, does not have a big ego and has a good track record. If the RFU does not want to introduce a new role then I would remove Rob Andrew and use that gap for Mallett who would bring much more to the table.

  • Comment number 37.

    Personally, I couldn't care less about nationality. It's about getting the right (not necessarily the best or most experienced) coach in to get England moving forward. Jake White for me is a non-starter. He "led" (under the guidance of Eddie Jones, let's not forget) South Africa to the RWC during a time when forward power was the be all and end all. A time when rugby standards across the globe were so poor, the IRB introduced the ELV's to try and encourage a more attacking philosophy from all teams. Lets also not forget that had England won against SA at Twickenham in '06 for the 2nd time in two weeks, it would've been White leaving his job and not Andy Robinson.
    Nick Mallet is a better option, but this guy thought that picking Mauro Bergamasco at scrum-half was a good idea. But at least you can give him credit for trying something out of the ordinary. You never know, Mike Brown might make an excellent openside!?!
    Stuart Lancaster seems to have done nearly everything right so far. Had it not been for some poor decision making by the England subs, we could well be the only team still looking for a grand slam. The players like him. The fans (generally) like him. The RFU like him. And more importantly, the press like him. Let's stick with him and give him the space, time and resources he needs to flourish.

  • Comment number 38.

    A polarised debate for sure. Lancaster is Marmite Man, you either love him or hate him.

    It is interesting to read from the doubters, the Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda's about Lancaster. they should have lost to Italy and Scotland but didn't, possibly could have won against Wales, but didn't. Lets not judge someone on what may have happened. Are we talking about results or performances or both?

    I have seen real development since the start of the 6 nations. Lancaster has started with his defence which looks good at the moment. He has not been afraid to make changes if he feels that players are not giving him what he needs.

    As the players get used to playing together more and more we will beging to see a more creative England.

    I am excited about that prospect.

  • Comment number 39.

    I want an head coach for England thats been there and done it befor at international level. I will not accept Lancaster as manager. Thats all England ever do is try and find a manager with no experiance to train up. No longer acceptable to me. I am tired of false dawns. Give Mallett the job and I will take what comes and enjoy watching England play. Give Lanacster the job and it wont be about the rugby on the pitch its will be about training a new manager to the international scene. Enough of this trying to build a manager from scratch. Its gone on for eight years now and it always ends in tears. I want to focus on the rugby not the manager all the time.

  • Comment number 40.

    White isn't interested, and the evidence for Lancaster doing a good job is a bit thin. Most coaches could have brought in new blood, and, with the talent available, achieved squeaky wins over Italy and Scotland. It's too early to say whether or not he's the best bet for the long term. He worries me; he either knows something about Charlie Hodgson that no one else has seen, or he hasn't been following the plot. Mallett for my money.

  • Comment number 41.

    22, Hogginthespirits, strange, I had the same idea as you but Lancaster under Mallet rather than White. Mallet satisfies my lingering jingoistic need for an Englishman, plus for some reason I'd like a manager who hasn't already won the World Cup.

  • Comment number 42.

    I agree with Lancaster under Mallett. If Lancaster is the sort of bloke to learn from Mallett, and accept Mallett top dog having far more experiance than him. But not if it undermines Mallett in any way.

  • Comment number 43.

    Have to agree with Jez, it can only be an Englishman to take the reins. Rugby is about the passion, the Red Rose and England. Let's not pretend any of the foreigners would be doing it out of duty. Lancaster is a great coach, old fashioned, disciplined, unafraid and English! We would also do well to acknowledge his international coaching record with the Saxon's - how many victories? A big bag full. That's where the players progress from, so why not the coach? All internationally renowned coaches started as unproven at the highest level. I say give him the job, bring on 2015 or face a revolution at the turnstiles!

  • Comment number 44.

    Red, yes, If he isn't the best but the best we have then we should go with him.

    That's what its all about, supporting the best that you have, not buying somebody else to do it for you. Why not pay the current New Zealand under 19 team (which looks awesome) and £1 Million each to move here and qualify on residency in 5 years. We'd have a great chance in 2019 with them.

  • Comment number 45.

    Red On yes all very nostaligc, but the modern game is abouit fitness, technical coaching, precision, organsiation, game management, high intensity, people management, development and organisational skills. You go with the people that do that the best. and if their not English then so be it.

  • Comment number 46.

    If all you can do is pick an English coach on if he is English you are not an England supporter. The best man for the job,and thats not Lancaster. I want whats best for England. English coaches that are good enough have shown by their absence they dont want the job. Lancaster looks lost to me. Sending Flood back to is club shows its more about playing his mates kids, than a serious attempt to manage the England team. If you just want an English manager then you are not putting the rugby first in my view, just your own politics. This is sport not politics.

  • Comment number 47.

    Useful as a trigger for debate but not really much of an article.

    The key difficulty for us armchair pundits is highlighted by the terminology used in this string - 'manager", "coach" , "head coach". How we view it dictates what we think the solution should be.

    White has ruled himslef out this morning so for the purposes of illustration let's say Mallet is the only big hitter in the frame.

    Lancaster's coaching skill and credentials are far greater than some posters seem to realise and #9 is right on the money : Mallet in the smart jacket with Lancaster in the tracksuit.

    And before we pile in with loads of reasons why this won't work because Mallet would want his own coaching team just stop and think for a moment:

    Lancaster is not stupid - he probaly knows he is a bit undercooked on the international stage but make no mistake he believes he will be there one day. He won't be fazed by a few years learning from a master.

    Mallet is not stupid either - the big money and accolades are in winning RWC2015. To arrive in October or whenever with a couple of trusted ex-club coaches in tow, clear out the backroom, spout on about 'the vision', read the riot act to the players, drop a few and promote a few will mean they are starting from scratch in next years 6N almost 1/3rd of the way into the RWC cycle and Mallet knows that's not long enough.

    So a manager/coach axis for me.

    However, after the John Steele debacle I fear that the RFU selection process is going to be like walking on eggshells and 'due process' will trump 'best outcome' so we'll get whatever the wise consultant at Odgers has written in the JD.

  • Comment number 48.

    Any appointment involves an element of risk. There are no 'certainties'. Many years ago a wise older colleague gave me some excellent advice - 'some people actually have 20 years experience, but most have a years experience 20 times!' It's dangerous to attach undue importance to 'experience'. Most people want to see a coach who will 'bring on' new and exciting i.e. inexperienced players. Why not the same with the coach? Lancaster's done all that was asked of him so far. We know he has the pride and commitment which, with respect, we can't be sure of with White and Mallet. For me it has to be Lancaster, sure he'll make mistakes but I doubt he will make the same mistakes twice. What more can you ask?

  • Comment number 49.

    When you have the likes of White and Mallet it's so easy to disregard Lancaster who has made a huge contribution in such a short time and one which has been better than the previous experimental coaches. Nationality should not be an issue when employing the right man for the job, one only needs to look at Wales achievements under Gatland. It would be pompous to think he must be English out of sheer passion if they are not up to the task. Come 2015, should the England team lift the Webb Elliss trophy, will anyone really care or take note of the nationality of the coach then. Certainly not, he will be admired and the passion felt in English hearts for the team's performance will be immense, especially on home soil. The ridicule of the football FA with the appointment of managers should not be compared to rugby.
    However, there is a lesson to be learnt from football and one to avoid which concerns the players themselves in that too many non English players playing in the Premiership Rugby will reduce the future development of English rugby and the quality of those players to choose from. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and avoid the deterioration and future development of English rugby as a whole or we will no longer be a competitive force on the international stage in years to come. Thus, a benchmark on the number of foreign players to take the field needs to be set as there is no point in making the Premiership Rugby the best in the world at the expense of the England team and it would be even more difficult undo the deed once done. In the process of a foreign player taking up residence and qualifying to play for England, then so be it. The likes of South African born Mike Catt who played with so much passion for his country England. Tuilagi plays with equal passion and quality that warrants his place and that is what counts.
    If it was up to me, my first choice would be White, then Mallet with Lancaster being a stand out third choice as you cannot argue with experience and achievements.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    The only thing Lancaster has done is lost one match should have lost all 3. Lancaster is a complete unknown on the international stage. The world cup is in three years,here in England. I do not want to waste anymore time on managers that have not done the job before. Lancaster is playing with England like its a new toy.
    Experiance tells us wether or not a manager has the backbone to run a team at a world cup. With lancaster we will not know that for 3 years. Clive Woodward took two world cups to get it right. Lancaster is too big a risk to take in my view with the world cup being in England. I cannot see England being seeded for the world cup if Lancaster stays. After last week France are a wounded animal. Whats he do, send Flood back to his club. Our most experianced no 10. I will not be sold on Lancaster. As a supporter been there too many times these last eight years.

  • Comment number 52.

    It is safe to say that all England fans want to see a successful England team at the RWC. It matters to us all.
    We just differ in terms of approach.

    I am not sure that one coach's past success at international level necessarily translates into further success at international level with another national set up.
    I don't think that guarantees you anything.

    Clearly, there would be many variables to take into account in bringing in a new coach (even one with prior international success) to a new country, organisation, culture and group of players - lots of factors which have to gel nicely before a team can respond and reach the kind of form needed to enjoy success at a high level - I see making an appointment of this ilk as being far more experimental and risky when compared to the option of retaining the present stability and momentum I percieve in the current coaching team and camp.

    In any case, is the key issue not one of employing someone with the most suitable coaching /managerial experience and skills rather than a hunt to find the fella with the biggest collection of another nation's winners medals?

    Lancaster is not Johnson. They are very different characters with very different levels of coaching experience. One was untested, unproven and unqualified and the other is an elite coach of some repute who is walking the walk as we speak, already a cog in the machine.
    The players are responding. We have time to build and prepare.

    The false dawn scenario feared by some is result dependent.
    Lets give those currently moving England forward time to manage and get those results.
    Now is not the time to spin the wheel, rip it up and start again. We risk perpetual dawn if we go down that route.

  • Comment number 53.

    Rulechangecrazy, how do you mean not done the job before? Do you need to have been an international coach to lead England?

    Kind of rules out the possibility of us ever having an England coach.

    Here's a tip for all those who don't want and English coach and English players. Go and support New Zealand, they consistantly deliver a high quality team that plays physically intence, attractive football.

    Sorry I meant rugby, easy to get those two mixed up on here.

  • Comment number 54.

    GM
    I want a manager that has coached a top team at the world cup. A manager we know will deal with the stresses and strains of the world cup. I want that person in place sooner than later. The fact the world cup is in England means the media attraction on the England team will be even more so.
    The media will be less likely to rip apart a coach like Mallet. The only reason we do not have an English coach with the experiance is because the RFU do not keep them in a job long enough. I thought MJ would have been given a 6 year contract to take us to 2015. We always new the last world cup was a long shot. But no he has gone now.
    England in my view need an established international coach. No trial, a 4 year contract. Mallett is my choice. Then us the supporters, can get on talking about the rugby on the pitch not how long the new temp manager is going to last. For the last eight years England has not had the stability of a permanent head coach. If we pick a coach that has not got full international experiance as a coach, and has taken a team to the world cup, well we will just be back on the meery-go-round. Give it 18 months and we will be looking for a new manager.

  • Comment number 55.

    So you the only way an to have an English, England Manager is if he, or she gets a job coaching another country at the next world cup and apply for the one after that.

    No, sorry, that is not a satisfactory situation.

  • Comment number 56.

    Have your English coach in 4 years time. Truth is we do not have an English coach that is qualified for the job. By the way Mallet was born in England. He is more English than some of our players. Our English coaches then have 4 years to get themselves ready for the job. Better that than the constant 2 year panic to find a English manager we have now.

  • Comment number 57.

    Mallet was born In England, a point I make in earlier posts. But that tecnicality does not validate your arguement.

  • Comment number 58.

    So by that measure, is Robbie Deans not qualified to coach Australia because he'd only coached at Super 14 level before hand.

    And if he's qualified, then surely Malander is for having coached at Heinikan cup level which is our equivelant. Like Kidney was for Ireland.

    Its called developement and promotion, a part of life and every form of employment and is always more succesful than head hunting.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ Rulechangecrazy

    What experience does Mallet have of coaching a team through a world cup at home in front of an expectant nation? Surely in that case we should hire either Brian Lochore or Geoff Cooke or Eddie Jones or Jake White or Graham Henry??
    Your reasoning defies logic! Completely agree with GM Massingbird.

    And just for the record, Andy Robinson was an Englishman who coached at the world cup. Look how that panned out!

  • Comment number 60.

    I am talking about people that have applied for the job. Also we have had eight years of experimenting with English managers and its failed big time. I want a stable set up to get ready for 2015. The players deserve that. There is not an English manager that can do that. We have had 8 years of developing an English manager. where are they now? Truth is we only have 3 years to a world cup here in England. Development and promotion over the last eight years has failed.
    Our only option is to bring in an experianced international coach.
    The RFU & English manager is a combination that is proven not to work. Malander does not want the job. Same with other English coaches. Lancaster is another novice. I am tired such people every 2 years. Development and promotion takes time as Clive woodward proved. We have run out of time for promotion and development. Truth is promotion and development we in truth are not any good at it.

  • Comment number 61.

    Didn't we have another 6 years before that of experimenting with Clive Woodward, and I'm not deifying him at all (though he was good). He just got dealt the best cards, and we persevered with him. Not experiment.

    By your reckoning the only coach we've had in the last 8 years who was qualified was Andy robinson, and look how that turned out.

    Nobody is suggesting another Johnson esq appointment but there is ground between that and hiring a mercenary.

  • Comment number 62.

    Is it only me that cares about 2015. You are all talking as if we have year and yaers to train an Englishman up to do the job. Why are you so obsessed with having an Englishman do the job. It does not look like it to me that our best managers want the job. Loyalty works both ways.
    English rugby its a farce these last 8 years worse than soccer regards management.
    We have not got 6 years. Even if we have we have proved conclusively that we have not got the skills to train an international coach. This "must be an Englishman" attitude has failed the supporter the last eight years and will fail again. We are no good at creating a manager. Its time England gave up on that for the sake of the supporters. I find your attitude racist to be honest, your more politics than rugby.

  • Comment number 63.

    #62 I agree with Rulechangecrazy..."Why are you so obsessed with having an Englishman do the job."

    When half the squad is made up on non-English men...It makes no sense to be happy to have a team full of foreigners and then say "oh we must have an English coach".

    Why? If the England team was full of English men then I could see why people would want to keep it all English with an English coach...but its too late for that. The team is already a mix of English and foreigners so 1 more wont make a difference.

  • Comment number 64.

    the best man for the job is the best man. I really dont understand the 'he must be english' mentality. as others have pointed out there is little new in the original article but the RFU must choose wisely and time the decision making correctly. Lancaster deserves until the end of the 6n before any decision is made.

  • Comment number 65.

    Before all this started I think most people would have wanted Mallett but after the performances at this 6 nations it looks quite positive so Lancaster is right in the frame.

    I think alot depends on the next two games and the most important part of that to me is the performance not result. The first two games showed some fighting spirit for a newly brought together team in tough conditions; the Wales game showed we could stand toe to toe with 'by far the best team this 6 nations' and with a bit of luck could have come away with more.

    What we need is some clear chances created and taken.

  • Comment number 66.

    I think someone has already mentioned that if they can, the RFU will get it wrong!

    So true. I know they need a new head coach, but anybody with a modicum of sense would have thought that to generate all this speculation during the second most important competition England play in is not condusive to stability. Saying they'll interview Lancaster before the end of the competition (then changing their minds), contacting other coaches during the competition, making people come out and say whether they're interested or not.

    If you had to try and undermine the current England coaching setup, you couldn't do a lot better than rely on the RFU!

    I think, despite his employers, to date Lancaster has done an excellent job. But forgive me for thinking that the long term (a relative term of course) appointment will be bungled.

    My views, for what they're worth, are that it isn't necessarily the best thing to employ a coach that's already achieved their ambition to coach a winning World Cup team. Still, what do I know?

  • Comment number 67.

    I am not convinced at all by Lancaster. As for the long term lets give Mallett a 4 year deal. We can then spend the next 4 years sorting out the RFU which does not seem to know how to run an international coach good or bad. At least with Mallet there he can look from the outside to see whats going wrong. Because in my view something is wrong with the RFU.
    Also I feel it will be a kick up the backside of our existing English managers to say "hey do you want to coach England or not" They have four years to make their minds up. Not every coach want to manage their national side. Those that do can start preparing themselves now, while the England team get on and play rugby.

  • Comment number 68.

    Rulechangecrazy, I've said before, you can support 22 none englishmen, and a none enlglish coaching team, just support the All Blacks.

  • Comment number 69.

    Blame the last eight years for my attitude. English managers just do not cut it. Our "best managers" dont want the job. Dont question my loyalty to England. Question our top English managers that do not want the job. Question the RFU who seem to be unable to keep an English manager in the job for more than 2 years. I am English through and through hence my concern at too many tenp managers running my national side. It seems the only answer is to that is to look outside England.

  • Comment number 70.

    I understand @Rulechangecrazy point of view...he wants the job done right and if it takes 4 years of a foreign manager before there is a worthy English manager ready to take the position then so be it. There is no point picking a manager simply because he is English...that would be disastrous. Great English managers will come in due time...you cant force it.

  • Comment number 71.

    Rulechangecrazy

    I think that you're off target. There are two major problems in my mind. The RFU itself that seems to be fatally flawed in its structures and organisation. If Superman himself were to manage England he would struggle with the Byzantine politics and vested interests!

    Secondly, managers come and go. Players come and go, but we still have exactly the same press corp! In the tabloids the pressure to write something...anything, every day leaves fertile ground for the kind of scandal that afflicts any Englishman pulling on his national shirt in any sport. I don't think that any other nation on Earth inflicts so much pointless damage upon its sporting representatives! The fact that it damages the national teams' interests takes a distant second place to the interests of (mostly) foreign proprietors in making money. The print and broadcast rugby correspondents are the same bunch of ex-players griping, moaning and settling old scores in public as ever before. They will tear down and devour whoever takes up the baton for the next two years.

    Woodward, Robinson and Ashton were all top flight coaches and they were all done in by the media. There are plenty more good coaches right here in England. I don't buy into this national self-loathing thing that makes some of us rubbish our own talents and naturally assume that a "foreign" coach will automatically make the sun shine.

    I've no objection to an overseas coach on parochial grounds (though football has learnt that the relationship tends to be mercenary) and if a standout candidate applies then great! Sadly, nearly everyone has cottoned on to what a monstrous pain in the **** it would be to manage England and they have declined to be involved...which leaves Nick Mallet (he's not the Messiah!) and the incumbent Stuart Lancaster who at least has started to insist that his team behave like grown-ups!

    If Lancaster can win one more game then the job should be his.

  • Comment number 72.

    Jamesmatthew "There is no point picking a manager simply because he is English..."

    yes there is, that's what international sport is all about, we're all just taken in with this football buisness, sell the stadium to by a winning team, burn the furnature to keep the fire glowing for half an hour.

    If an English coach is not good enough, then I will watch my national team lose, but ut will be my national team. A club can get a martian to coach the team, as long as he's good.

  • Comment number 73.

    Well what is the point of supporting England. It can never work as a unit it is set up for constant failure. If we only need to win one more game for Lancaster to stay I will be supporting France on Sunday. To be honest I have had enough of supporting England soccer and Rugby. The FA and RFU make it fail. From what I have read so far the Supporters want England to fail. The world loves England to be a laughing stock. The media need England to fail they make so much money out of it. I will no longer support a set up Soccer or Rugby thats is happy to fail at everything so long as its an England manager. Enough is enough for me. England wants to fail, England is set up to fail. England is a waste of money and time if you want England to win. Well I wont be wasting anymore of my time and money if Lancaster gets the job. I am tired of being duped by an England set up that it truth cares little if it wins or not.

  • Comment number 74.

    Rulechangecrazy "The world loves England to be a laughing stock."

    You are absolutely right, and it bugs me too especially on the BBC where it is undoubtedly encouraged but that doesn't mean that we have to sell our souls to stop them.

    You want a team we can be proud of, so do I but for me getting in somebody else to do it for us is not the solution, and the same goes for Shontane Hape, Mauritz Boath and Ricki Flutey. (Tuilagi is debateable)

  • Comment number 75.

    We dont have an English manager of the calibre that will take on the job. Soul already sold. ask our best managers why they dont want the job. If our best manager do not want the job you cannot complain that we look outside England. I want the best manager and the best team on the field. Soul what soul. If England managers had a soul as you put it they would be lining up for the job. They are not.
    Why must I suffer as a supporter because our best managers avoid the England job like the they might catch somthing nasty.

  • Comment number 76.

    But we have 2 English Managers who want the Job, Lancaster and Mallander. Anyway, fair debate, work is over for me, we'll just have to disagree.

  • Comment number 77.

    Mallander turned it down. Still ok we will have to disagree.

  • Comment number 78.

    Can't see any 'foreign' current international or ex-international coach/manager actually wanting the England job considering the shambles that is the RFU and the rabble that is the England team.
    Surely the only people to 'want' to take the role will be those who feel duty-bound...i.e. an Englishman (or woman?) so it will be a home grown person in post as far as I can see.

  • Comment number 79.

    Trying to work out some of the self-conflicting arguments here. From "Rulechange" particularly, who by the way talks about managers rather than coaches.
    He says "Well what is the point of supporting England. It can never work as a unit it is set up for constant failure" errrmm, in a rugby world full of NH very good but "nearly" sides, an English Manager/Head Coach won the RWC. The one and only NH side to do so. I forget what experience and so-called success he had before he took on the job, certainly not enough to expect a RWC win though. He was given a few years and there was nothing to suggest in the early years that he could get the job done.
    What is "previous success" then? Jake White maybe but one of the 3 SH sides were always going to win in 2007 and they were eventually run close by a stuttering England, so is this such a big deal?
    I have no crystal ball, so I don't know what WILL work for England, if anything. But please no more mention of Eddie O'Sullivan, whinged his way through his possession of Ireland's golden generation and they never fulfilled their potential, so a big NO.
    Why not give SL a while and see how they progress? It does depend on the emerging talent available to him but 3 6N games are no great indication of his long-term prospects, especially after 2 away games in terrible weather.
    Finally, will the Leicester coaches shut up please, their self-agrandissement isn't helping? BY's form has been poor, TF has been injured so why should they walk back in? Shouldn't they be happy that their club will profit by not playing for England when all the other clubs' internationals are away on duty?

  • Comment number 80.

    Its not rocket science is it. In the last eight years all English managers/head coaches have not lasted longer than 2 years. I just want an established head coach for England thats done the job at international level. End this farce of putting someone unproven at international level in the job just to fail. Everyone I speak to about rugby tells me "oh no not another temp coach" Or even worse "rugby whats the point its like soccer now a soap opera".
    No more experiments with Head coaches just because they are English. Lets get someone in that knows the job, then we can concern ourselves with the rugby and moving forward. All England has done this lat 8 years is move around in circles every 2 years. I am tired of the RFU trying to make a head coach from someone who has not got the experiance. If Lancaster gets the job I withdraw my support its as simple as that. Thats me.

  • Comment number 81.

    80: So let's say that Lancaster gets the job after a couple more improved displays in this 6 nations. You would stop supporting England? Wow. Let's hope he gets it then as you can potter off and support the All Blacks.

  • Comment number 82.

    #80, if your approach to sport is "pick my favourite or I am taking my ball home" then England can do without your support - it smacks of all the problems England have had over the past 8 years, in particular an obsession with big names, and a celebrity mentality.

    The idea of a big name coach to me just sounds like the same short term thinking that has blighted in England side of recent years, ending in the ill advised appointment of Martin Johnson - great player, but somebody with no coaching experience at any level.

    I have no problem with the idea of Mallett as coach, so long as we don't see Croft playing at 9 (he has form for that type of selection), but personally I woould rather us keep Lancaster and send out a message that the RFU have a long term vision.

    You talk about 8 years of failed coaching, but that includes Sir Clive taking a one year swansong, and 3 years under a man with no experience at any level. In between we had Robinson, who was undermined and treated badly by the RFU, and Ashton, who suffered a similar fate despite taking England to the world cupp final. All 3 hamstrung by the appointment of an inept backroom staff over which they have no control.

    In the last 3 games England have dug out two wins in appalling conditions, and run the self-professed world beating Welsh team close. More importantly the old pals act has been replaced by a new discipline, work ethic and pride in the shirt.

  • Comment number 83.

    Well said 81 and 82, England will not suffer from crazy's lack of support and advice. I ask him again, who does have the experience? Nobody, the England top job is like no other, except maybe that of France, who have a similar structure at the top few club tiers. And look at their problems over the years with coaches.

  • Comment number 84.

    It's quite interesting to read both sides of the argument on whether the coach chosen is English or not. Put yourself in the position as the employer, the experience and qualifications are usually set prior to an appointment and those who do not meet the criteria need not apply for obvious reasons. Given the nature of the job, proven experience would be a priority in differentiating between the candidates. Just because a coach has already won the world cup does not mean he is not motivated or likely to repeat the feat again. Being that it has not been done before would be motivation enough for anyone with the desire to make history and a lot easier in a new environment. Tell that to Ferguson who is motivated and hungry for more trophies and in the same environment.
    Even New Zealand have foreign players in their team from neighbouring Islands so it puts that argument to bed.
    No matter who is chosen to lead England I will support them with equal passion and desire.
    We have had leaders of our country who are Scottish, so come on lets us not be too pompous. I would love for Lancaster to be the one to lead our country to success in 2015 but we need to be honest and face the fact that he may not be first choice or the better of the three or two if we believe that White has in fact ruled himself out.
    One thing for sure is that we have a lot of young talent that could be developed into world champions as do Wales.

  • Comment number 85.

    Some people are really making me laugh on here. Especailly rulechangecrazy!

    You talk as if Lancaster is another Martin Johnson with no coaching experience. And you do realise that Clive Woodward isnt the only coach to ahve won the world cup? I havent looked up the stats but I am sure there is more than one coach who has won the WC on their first attempt. So to say Woodward proves it takes more than one go is just silly.
    2 out of 3 aint bad. But what is more important is the progression we have seen. The big test is if we can continue that progression against France and Ireland.

    How is Lancaster treating the England team like a new toy? So he isnt starting Flood and Youngs? During the WC people were slating MJ for jsut picking the big names not the on form players. Now we have a manager doing the oposite people still arent happy.
    Until Farrell or Hodgson bottle it at 10, I won't moan about Flood not being in the team. (For what its worth I would have had him on the bench again)

  • Comment number 86.

    @ James Mathew stop stirring the pot with that "non-english" rubbish again. Its boring and misplaced!

    I dont care about the nationality of the coach. But if stability is important, and it takes time to build a team. Then is Lancaster not the man? As he has been in for a month and keeping him in would cause no up heaval. Bringing in a new guy would undo this years 6N work.

    And just because someone has had more success with another interntaional team it doesnt mean they will do better than a man who knows the English game and players inside out!

    Lancaster has experience of the English players, brings stability, seems to be press savy, diciplined, is winning more than losing, and shown some nice rugby against a very good team.

    What more could we want?

  • Comment number 87.

    Rugby Union isn't my first sport and I only occasionally go to see my home club (Brive). I'm English and I back Lancaster. Why? Because, IMHO, he's achieved two things quickly.

    1. He's radically reduced the concession of penalties. England are more disciplined. The rules of rucking/the mail aren't complex; there's just a lot of them. In my opinion England, under MJ, had become cynical about conceding pens. Almost a disruptive tactic (Nick Easter, a serial offender).

    2. Lancaster is clearly focussing on the basic ingredients which facilitate flowing, running rugby with ball in hand. E.g. Quick distribution from the maul (Dickson). Backs not kicking but running from deep.

    The last thing I want to say is that SL has made an immediate impact on the way the players conduct and présent themselves. It can be argued that any new manager gets that for free during the honeymoon period (chosen players toe-the-line to cement their places).

    As I say, I'm no expert. But the likes of Jake White in his twittering make quite plain thé dangers of a foreign coach. (Cricket's Andy Flower was long a servant of this country's domestic game before becoming national coach. Anyhow, you don't get many AFs to the £.)

    I back SL.

  • Comment number 88.

    #86 I agree completely, but I am not surprised by the clamour for a big name appointment (amybe it is because I follow football as well as rugby). You are right that many of us complained during the world cup about players being selected on reputation, but probably far more were still buying into the cult of celebrity which has surrounded English rugby for many years.

    Wilko should never have played against France as his form at RWC2011 was poor, but for every voice calling for Flood at 10, there were far more trotting out tired old cliches about the French team being scared of Wilkinson, despite the fact that it wasn't true (possibly true behind a dominant pack, but certainly not the case when things are even up front).

    I don't agree with all of Lancaster's selections, but I am happy with the direction things are moving on and off the field, so far he has dealt well with the press, and his handing of Care and Armitage was spot on. Personally I would have picked Flood ahead of Hodgson on the bench, although much of the criticism of Hodgson is unfair, and based on the myth that All England's problems post 2003 would have been solved had Wilkinson stayed fit - he was a very fine player, but not THAT good.


    The danger with a big name coach is that they will focus 100% on the next world cup, while many will argue that is a good thing, we need a coach who is committed beyond that. Looking at English club rugby, many of the players making headlines are still very young - the likes of Joseph, Burns, May, Heathcote, Wallace, Farrell, Morgan and Gaskell, and we need a coach who is in it for the long term.

  • Comment number 89.

    International sport of any variety should be about the best of us versus the best of them, both on the pitch and off it. Just my opinion, but for me that is what it is all about. Thats why I don't really agree with the likes of Botha etc. being in the England team.

  • Comment number 90.

    There should not be all this talk of a new coach in the middle of the 6N. Talk about undermining SL. The RFU should have declared that they will not start comsidering a new appointment until after the tournament. SL has done a good job so far. Irrespective of the next two games he has stopped the rot and instilled pride again in the team.

  • Comment number 91.

    Big name coach who has been there and done it before could translate as someone who's best days are already behind them- someone who has already climbed to the top of the mountain and will find it harder to find motivation to climb back to the summit again, especially for a country other than their own

    Sometimes it's better to be led by the coming man rather than yesterday's man

  • Comment number 92.

    One further thought- each world cup winning coach to date has been a national of the country that he coached to victory

  • Comment number 93.

    England wont be able to handle an overseas coach the RFU will have to give way to much they dont like to have people telling them they are wrong all clubs have improved from overseas coaches they dont take messing around England should be the best in the world if mallet had 50% of the players in Italy that England have Italy would be in the top 8 just my opinion welsh / south african

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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