BBC BLOGS - Alastair Eykyn's blog

Lancaster is the best man for the job

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Alastair Eykyn | 14:05 UK time, Thursday, 29 March 2012

As England's caretaker, Stuart Lancaster did exactly as he was asked, and he is now reaping the considerable reward.

He repaired the damage of the World Cup, he blooded a new generation of players, and he won four matches out of five. It has proved a convincing audition.

We will learn more about Lancaster's backroom staff in the coming days, but we know that he wants to retain the assistants that worked with him in the Six Nations Championship. Graham Rowntree is a stone-cold certainty as forwards coach.

My information is that Andy Farrell can be persuaded to join England on a permanent basis too, though he will need to secure a release from his contract at Saracens.

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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. 

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Devoted Wilkinson was a unique talent

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Alastair Eykyn | 06:53 UK time, Tuesday, 13 December 2011

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.

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