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Rugby Union
Stuart Lancaster appointed England coach
The Rugby Football Union confirm Stuart Lancaster as England's full-time coach after impressive Six Nations campaign.
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2012 13:38
Forwards coach Graham Rowntree (L) was full of praise for Stuart Lancaster (R) following Six Nations [GALLO/GETTY]

Stuart Lancaster was named England's full-time rugby coach on Thursday after restoring the team's shattered morale and reputation and winning over the previously disillusioned fans in his short but impressive role as caretaker.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) said Lancaster, 42, who led England to four wins out of five in this year's Six Nations
championship, had been appointed to the post until the end of January 2016.

"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," RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said in a statement.

"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"

Stuart Lancaster

"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."

Lancaster, chosen ahead of former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett, said in a statement: "I am immensely honoured and proud to accept this role.

"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," he said.

The RFU said it would hold a news conference at Twickenham at 1500 GMT.

Lancaster was appointed interim coach for the Six Nations after Martin Johnson stepped down in November following
England's poor World Cup campaign in New Zealand.

He had previously led England's second-string Saxons team and was working for the RFU as head of elite development.

Those positions gave him in-depth knowledge of the up-and-coming players available to England and he took full advantage by handing out seven new caps in his first game in charge, away to Scotland.

England won that match, their first in Edinburgh in four attempts, and followed up with another win in Rome.

Impressive 'interview'

Lancaster's first outing at Twickenham ended in a last-gasp defeat to eventual grand slam champions Wales but he finished impressively with victory in France and then a 30-9 home thumping of Ireland.

The four wins put England second in the standings, a step down from last year's title but an unexpectedly impressive
showing on the back of their flat World Cup displays.

England's fans embraced Lancaster's willingness to throw in the new faces and were equally impressed by the way he turned around the team's attitude following the stream of negative headlines during the World Cup.

From the day he took charge Lancaster made it his stated aim to "restore the pride in wearing the England shirt" and ensure the players reconnected with the grass-roots game.

He took them for a week's training camp at a junior club in Leeds, northern England, and brought in motivational speakers from other sports.

Scrum coach Graham Rowntree, the only survivor from the World Cup coaching team, said last week that Lancaster had "dragged England out of the gutter" and that the Six Nations campaign had been the "perfect interview".

Lancaster took on the more formal interview this week where he laid out his blueprint to develop the current crop of
fledgling players into an experienced 600-cap group perfectly placed to make an assault on the 2015 World Cup.

Source:
Reuters
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