Stu's the man! RFU appoint Lancaster as new England head coach after seeing off Mallett
09:09 GMT, 29 March 2012
Stuart Lancaster has been appointed England head coach after RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie put forward his name to the union board for final approval ahead of Nick Mallett.
The 42-year-old Cumbrian has had an anxious wait to learn his fate since having a formal interview for the post on Thursday last week, on the same day as his main rival.
But Sportsmail revealed this morning that Lancaster would get the job and now understands that the South African was informed this morning that he has not got the job.
The RFU are expected to confirm the announcement at a press conference this afternoon.
All smiles: Stuart Lancaster has been given the nod from the RFU to lead England
Out of leftfield: Lancaster was a relative unknown before the Six Nations
Is Stuart Lancaster the right choice to lead England
Click to view yesterday's poll results
On Monday, Ritchie and his four advisers — Sir Ian McGeechan, Rob Andrew, Conor O’Shea and Richard Hill — met for one final discussion before settling on their recommendation.
Sportsmail has learned that there was
due to be a gathering of the RFU board on Wednesday night and Ritchie had decided to propose that Lancaster is appointed
as the long-term successor to Martin Johnson. An announcement is likely to be made either
on Thursday or Friday.
Altogether now: Lancaster will now lead England full-time after his caretaker role
Stuart Lancaster has an impressive record since taking charge of England as caretaker manager:
February 4: Scotland 6 England 13
February 11: Italy 15 England 19
February 25: England 12 Wales 19
March 11: France 22 England 24
March 17: England 30 Ireland 9
Confirmation of his appointment would represent a startling coup for Lancaster, who was named as the interim head coach for the Six Nations in December, in the aftermath of Johnson’s resignation following the World Cup debacle.
The ex-schoolteacher has presided over a fundamental overhaul of the England set-up which culminated in a heartening second-place finish in the championship, behind Grand Slam winners Wales.
Fresh blood: Owen Farrell (right) has been one of Lancaster's success stories
The remarkable rise of Lancaster
1969: Born October 9 in Penrith, Cumbria.
1992: Makes his debut for Leeds, where he became a regular fixture in the side. Lancaster was Leeds' regular flanker and captain until 2000.
2000: Retires from rugby after playing at Headingley for eight years after becoming the first Leeds player to play a century of games since the amalgamation of Headingley and Roundhay.
2001: Appointed head of the Leeds RFU Academy, a position which he held for five years.
2006: Became the director of rugby at Leeds Carnegie and led them to promotion back to the Premiership following a title-winning season in 2006-07.
2008: Appointed the head of the Rugby Football Union's elite player development in March, helping to bring through a number of exciting talents including England scrum-half Danny Care.
2010: Becomes manager of the England Saxons.
2011: Wins the Churchill Cup with Saxons.
December 8- Announced Lancaster would head up an interim England coaching team, also including Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell, for the Six Nations.
December 11 – Names an elite player squad featuring nine uncapped players and 13 changes from the World Cup campaign.
2012: January 25 – Announces his intention to apply for the job on a permanent basis.
January 30- Names Chris Robshaw as captain in their Six Nations opener against Scotland.
February 4 – England beat Scotland 13-6 in Lancaster's first match in charge.
March 17 – England finish second in the Six Nations behind Wales.
March 29 – Lancaster is appointed England head coach.
Far from being content to conduct a holding operation, Lancaster set about a clean-up operation to repair the damage done to the game’s image by the controversies out in New Zealand last year.
Having freshened up the squad by removing veterans such as Nick Easter and Mark Cueto, and bringing in a raft of rookies headed by the goal-kicking Saracens tyro, Owen Farrell, the former Leeds coach made a strong disciplinary stand by banishing Danny Care and Delon Armitage following off-field incidents.
With the stated aim of re-connecting
the England team with the rugby public and restoring ‘pride in the
shirt’, Lancaster brought in various guest speakers during a pre-Six
Nations training camp, which was held in Leeds to take the players away
from the comfort zone of their luxury base in Surrey. He maintained the
cultural shift by asking his squad to coach youngsters and engage more
openly and readily with sponsors and media.
Yet, he would not be on the brink of
taking charge of the national team on a long-term basis if he had not
engineered on-field success too. On Lancaster’s watch, England started
the championship with tense wins away from home against Scotland and
Not this time: Nick Mallett was overlooked for the England manager's position
They did not show much by way of attacking craft in difficult
conditions at Murrayfield and in Rome, but they showed ample character.
Gradually, in the narrow defeat against Wales followed by stunning
victories in Paris and against Ireland at Twickenham, Lancaster’s
England displayed a variety of methods for winning Tests.
Of course, a fair share of credit for
the strides made by the team rightly went to the assistant coaches,
Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell.
Team: Lancaster hopes to work with Graham Rowntree (left) and Andy Farrell
Rowntree, who had expanded his remit
by taking overall charge of the forwards, is thought to be on an
open-ended contract with the RFU and is keen to maintain his involvement
In Farrell’s case, he has gone back to his day-job as
head coach of Saracens.
The Aviva Premiership champions have him on a
contract for at least two more years and are determined to keep hold of
him, but Lancaster is equally determined to keep Farrell in the national
set-up, now he has seen him thriving in that environment.
It would seem
certain that the RFU will have to pay the club significant compensation
if they are to secure his release.