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Stuart Lancaster appointed new England manager

RFU hand reigns to Lancaster… just as we told you they would!

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UPDATED:

22:26 GMT, 29 March 2012

Stuart Lancaster was acclaimed as the man who can guide England to glory at the home World Cup in 2015 after his appointment as head coach was confirmed at Twickenham on Thursday night.

Following Sportsmail’s exclusive story that the 42-year-old Cumbrian had been nominated by the RFU’s selection panel, his elevation to the post was duly ratified by the board.

Lancaster, who overcame high-calibre opposition from Nick Mallett, has been awarded a four-year contract thought to be worth close to 1.5million.

Master of all he surveys: New England head coach Stuart Lancaster poses at Twickenham on Thursday

Master of all he surveys: New England head coach Stuart Lancaster poses at Twickenham on Thursday

Life looking rosey: New England head coach Stuart Lancaster on Thursday

Life looking rosey: New England head coach Stuart Lancaster on Thursday

The appointment of the former
schoolteacher means England will approach the next World Cup under the
guidance of a man with just five Tests on his c.v., albeit with
victories in four of those.

However, RFU chief executive Ian
Ritchie insisted the decision gave the host nation the best chance of
success. ‘We have appointed somebody to put us in the best place to win
the World Cup, which is so important for us,’ he said. ‘I believe we
should be very, very competitive.

‘We believe Stuart has earned this
opportunity. He is unquestionably the right man for the job. I don’t see
this as a gamble. The RFU board unanimously approved this appointment
and it was a unanimous recommendation from the panel, which was
important.’

Vision of the future: Lancaster during his unveiling press conference at Twickenham on Thursday

Vision of the future: Lancaster during his unveiling press conference at Twickenham on Thursday

In a reference to the tough stance
Lancaster has taken on discipline, as an antidote to the controversies
at last year’s World Cup, Ritchie added: ‘The values Stuart has
inculcated into the team are the values we espouse at the RFU.’

Lancaster, who succeeds Martin
Johnson, was bullish about England’s prospects. ‘We absolutely can win
the World Cup,’ he said.

‘I’m hugely optimistic. We have to advance, but
we have some great foundations in place.’

Former Springboks coach
Mallett offered congratulations to his rival, tipping him to ‘build on
the good work he has done in the aftermath of a difficult World Cup’.

And England captain Chris Robshaw praised Lancaster for winning the
squad’s ‘trust and respect’.

Reborn: Lancaster transformed England from World Cup flops to Six Nations title contenders

Reborn: Lancaster transformed England from World Cup flops to Six Nations title contenders

Welcome on board: Lancaster with Ian Ritchie, the RFU chief executive (right)

Welcome on board: Lancaster with Ian Ritchie, the RFU chief executive (right)

But amid the messages of support,
2003 World Cup-winning wing Ben Cohen told talkSport: ‘I don’t think he
is the right man. Nick Mallett has got credentials coming out of his
ears. You look at the Six Nations as a honeymoon period and there are
testing times to come. You want someone who has experience of managing
through that.’

Andy Robinson is to continue as Scotland head coach despite his side’s RBS Six Nations whitewash.

The rise and rise of Stuart 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.

… and his record as England caretaker

Stuart Lancaster has an impressive record since taking charge of England as caretaker manager:

Played 5 Won 4 Lost 1

February 4 – Scotland 6 England 13

Lancaster's tenure began with a
scrappy first England win at Murrayfield in eight years as Charlie
Hodgson charged down a Dan Parks kick to score the try which Owen
Farrell converted. Farrell finished with eight points on his debut.

February 11 – Italy 15 England 19

Hodgson and Farrell came to the
rescue once again as England trailed 12-6 and looked set for a first
defeat in 18 Test matches against Italy in a freezing Rome. Hodgson
scored another charge down try and Farrell kicked 14 points with four
penalties and a tough conversion.

February 25 – England 12 Wales 19

England were denied what could have
been a match-drawing try, if they had gone on to kick the conversion, as
David Strettle was ruled by the television official not to have
grounded the ball in the final play of the game. Farrell kicked four
penalties as Wales clinched the Triple Crown.

March 11 – France 22 England 24

Lancaster's stock rose with a narrow
win in Paris as tries from Manu Tuilagi, Ben Foden and Tom Croft gave
England a mathematical chance of winning the title going into their
final game of the championship.

March 17 – England 30 Ireland 9

An impressive win put the dampener on
St Patrick's Day celebrations as England dominated, their scrum proving
particularly dominant. Referee Nigel Owens awarded a penalty try
against the beleaguered Ireland scrum and Ben Youngs also touched down.
Farrell kicked 20 points.

Stuart Lancaster appointed England head coach

Stu's the man! RFU appoint Lancaster as new England head coach after seeing off Mallett

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UPDATED:

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

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

Out of leftfield: Lancaster was a relative unknown before the Six Nations

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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: Stuart Lancaster (second right) looks set for the job

Altogether now: Lancaster will now lead England full-time after his caretaker role

Lancaster bomber…

Stuart Lancaster has an impressive record since taking charge of England as caretaker manager:

Played 5
Won 4
Lost 1

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

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
Italy.

Not this time: Nick Mallett was overlooked for the England

Not this time: Nick Mallett was overlooked for the England manager's position

Luke Benedict

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

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
with England.

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.

Stuart Lancaster to get England job

Lancaster wins RFU chief's vote to beat Mallett to permanent England job

|

UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 28 March 2012

Stuart Lancaster is on the verge of being appointed England head coach after RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie was understood to have put forward his name to the union board for final approval.

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, South African Nick Mallett.

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.

Altogether now: Stuart Lancaster (second right) looks set for the job

Altogether now: Stuart Lancaster (second right) looks set for the job

Sportsmail has learned that there was
due to be a gathering of the RFU board on Wednesday night and it is
thought that Ritchie had decided to propose that Lancaster is appointed
as the long-term successor to Martin Johnson. Subject to formal
acceptance at the meeting, an announcement is likely to be made either
on Thursday or Friday.

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

Fresh blood: Owen Farrell (right) has been one of Lancaster's success stories

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.

Not this time: Nick Mallett was overlooked for the England

Not this time: Nick Mallett was overlooked for the England

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
Italy.

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

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
with England. 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.

Ben Foden backs Stuart Lancaster for full-time England appointment

Foden backs Lancaster for full-time England appointment after Six Nations success

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UPDATED:

17:57 GMT, 26 March 2012

Stuart Lancaster has received a timely boost in his bid to become England’s permanent head coach after one of the Red Rose’s key players gave him a ringing endorsement for the role.

After guiding England to four Six Nations wins out of five in an interim role, Lancaster is the favourite for the full-time job in what is a two-way fight with South African Nick Mallett.

And with the new man expected to be announced imminently, full back Ben Foden has put his weight behind the loudening calls for Lancaster’s appointment.

‘You can’t question what the guy has done,’ he said. ‘He’s made all the right decisions, he’s got the right guys involved with him, you can’t really fault anything that Stuart has done.’

The boys and the black stuff: Ben Foden, Jamie Roberts, Jamie Heaslip and John Barclay chew the fat at The Stoop

The boys and the black stuff: Ben Foden, Jamie Roberts, Jamie Heaslip and John Barclay chew the fat at The Stoop

Lancaster opted to blood several young and uncapped players in this year’s championship, and Foden, who at just 26 is now one of the senior members of England’s squad, praised the former Saxons coach for his bravery in selection and his innovative man management methods when touting the Cumbrian for the full-time role.

‘He’s been brave in his selection choices and he’s been very positive in the way he’s approached it in terms of the media and bringing people in to gee-up the squad,’ he said.

‘Clearing out all the players he did and bringing in the youth and the guys that are playing on form for their clubs – they’ve all risen to the challenge and proven that they’re ready for international rugby and that’s the sign of a good coach at the end of the day.

‘You can’t do more than that. He’s done particularly well with the time he’s had and hopefully if he’s given any longer he’ll be able to take us even further.’

With all the hard work that went into ensuring England made a swift recovery from their disastrous World Cup campaign, it would seem a shame to many to change the coaching personnel and go back to square one.

Backing: Foden has thrown his weight behind Stuart Lancaster

Backing: Foden has thrown his weight behind Stuart Lancaster

And Foden hopes the side’s performances, in particular in the wins over France and Ireland, will help to keep the squad and backroom staff together.

‘I think that’s why everyone is delighted with the way that things have finished, we showed that the England camp is a good and positive place to be and everyone involved in it is doing very well,’ he said.

‘Hopefully if they’ve all put their hats in the ring and said “I’ve been part of this successful unit where we got things right”, then hopefully they will all be there next year.

‘You know that when you do go back to it it’s going to be a positive place because of how things were left.’

Foden admitted that England’s clinical performance against Ireland in the final game of the Six Nations, a 30-9 win, was in part dedicated to the backroom staff that have helped to rejuvenate English rugby.

‘We knew there was a lot on the line,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t just Stuart either, it was guys like Wig (Graham Rowntree) and (Andy) Farrell and the physios and the strength and conditioning guys.

‘Everyone comes to a point in their careers where they have to renegotiate their contracts and that point’s coming up, and we wanted to go out and play and show everyone out there that was looking in that this was a happy environment with a lot of positives to take out of it and everyone was doing their bit to make sure we were there.

‘We’re all one big family, it wasn’t just a squad of 32, it was a squad of 50, 60 people and that was what was key, everyone feels part of the squad so we win and lose as a squad.’

‘It was a big pat on the back for everyone involved in the England squad on that day.’

Due to the off-field antics of some during the World Cup last year, England’s rugby side became public enemies No 1 in the eyes of rugby fans and media, but the Six Nations success has created a feel-good atmosphere.

In the hotseat: Lancaster oversaw a successful Six Nations campaign

In the hotseat: Lancaster oversaw a successful Six Nations campaign

Credit for that, according to Foden, has to go to Lancaster.

‘Stuart’s been pretty instrumental in making us open our eyes to the fact that it’s a great honour to play for England and we’ve got a whole nation behind us if we perform right and use the media to get on our side,’ he said.

‘The whole thing around English rugby, with the RFU being so strong, with the facilities being offered at Pennyhill Park, playing at Twickenham in front of 80-odd thousand people where it’s always virtually sold out. It’s just a massive driving force.

‘If we can get all that behind us and use that to our advantage then we should be pretty unstoppable as a nation.

‘We’ve taken the right steps in the right direction to start the train rolling towards that 2015 home World Cup.’

England head to South Africa in June for a three-Test tour, and while Foden is currently focusing on trying to secure Premiership glory for Northampton – whom he scored two tries for in a 32-15 win over Wasps at the weekend – he admits he is looking forward to the challenge of facing the Springboks.

‘It’s the next test for us as a squad to go up against southern hemisphere teams,’ he said.

‘We want to test ourselves against the best sides in the world. Our next challenge is to go over and take those big scalps and it’s another step in the direction, hopefully we’ll be able to do that with positive and good performance out there in South Africa.’

And would he like to see Stuart Lancaster in charge for the tour

‘Definitely’.

Guinness ambassadors Ben Foden, Jamie Heaslip, Jamie Roberts and John Barclay were taking part in the Guinness Rugby Challenge where Guinness Facebook fans got the chance to play for their country at the Twickenham Stoop.

As in the Six Nations, Wales won the competition, beating an English team including Foden and players from the Birmingham Barbarians club in the final. For more great content go to www.facebook.com/guinnessgb

Lancaster makes his pitch for England job and says "there"s nobody better"

Lancaster makes his pitch for England job and says 'there's nobody better'

Stuart Lancaster has outlined his leadership vision for the first time since applying for the England head coach’s position and rejected claims he lacks the steely edge required to lead his country to the 2015 World Cup.

The 42-year-old Cumbrian has made an impressive fist of his first three months in charge after being elevated from Saxons head coach to caretaker of the senior team.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster

Fighting talk: Current England head coach Stuart Lancaster says he has the experience and the knowledge for English rugby's top job

Players have been brought into line, supporters won over, sponsors appeased, pride restored, a crossroads reached.

New RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie has indicated he will decide before the end of the Six Nations whether Lancaster is the best man to fill arguably the highest-profile position in world rugby, or whether to appoint a ‘big name’ such as Nick Mallett or Eddie O’Sullivan.

With England’s final game against Ireland on March 17, Lancaster has just 13 days, and one more match against France next Sunday, to convince Twickenham. Ritchie insists the result in Paris won’t impact on his decision, but a third championship victory from four games would be hard to ignore.

A banner for England's Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster from the wife

Big support: Lancaster received a standing ovation following his side's unlucky defeat to Wales

Having previously refused to discuss his application for fear of undermining the selection process, the former schoolteacher has revealed the coaching and leadership philosophy which he bases, in part, on legendary San Fransisco 49s coach Bill Walsh, whose book was entitled The Score Takes Care Of Itself’.

‘Great leaders are forward thinkers and planners, they are honest, they are inspiring and they are technically proficient,’ said Lancaster.

‘They are the four things that make great leaders. There are a whole other range of competencies such as emotional intelligence and knowing when to put your arm around someone’s shoulder and knowing when to crack the whip. Relationship skills.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster looks dejected with Rob Webber of England after the RBS 6 Nations match between England and Wales

New faces: Lancaster has introduced new youngsters to the England set up

‘That’s completely different to being a manager. A manager is a coordinator. Vision is one part of leadership, coaching is another, being democratic is another, being a pacesetter is another, creating close emotional bonds is another. Great leaders shift between them all and pick the right club out of the bag at the right time.

‘Bill Walsh’s philosophy pretty much epitomises the type of leader I would like to be.’

Lancaster’s detractors believe it would be preposterous to appoint a man with no previous experience of coaching at the very highest level, arguing the world’s biggest union must appoint the world’s heaviest hitter.

The argument has some merit, but ignores the progress that has been made under Lancaster; the gloom that has been lifted and the wealth of experience he built up in five years spent as the RFU head of elite player development.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster (C) looks on with assistants Graham Rowntree (L) and Andy Farrell

Dream team Lancaster looks on with assistants Graham Rowntree (left) and Andy Farrell (right)

Last week he received a standing ovation when he addressed the hugely influential RFU Council, many of whom believe his no-nonsense style and lack of ego can provide the perfect antidote to the perception of arrogance that still lingers around English rugby’s governing body.

‘There aren’t many people who have the ability to judge my coaching ability because there are very few people who have come with me on my coaching journey,’ Lancaster added.

‘I would reckon I have spent 80 to 90 per cent of my time on coaching, whether it is 10 years as a teacher, five years as a coach, two as a director of rugby at Leeds and as Saxons coach. I’ve always been hands-on.’

In response to critics who say he lacks the killer instinct, Lancaster points to the omission of Danny Care from the Six Nations squad on disciplinary grounds, along with Delon Armitage, as well as the reduction in the average age of the England squad by almost three years, by culling senior players.

Danny Care of England

Killer instinct: Lancaster cites the omission of Danny Care following a drink driving conviction as proof of his steel when it comes to the big decisions

‘There have been some big decisions made around selection, the EPS squad and the coaching team,’ he said.

‘There are a lot of big decisions that need to be made. People need to understand this group of players should be together now, give or take, for the next three or four years.’

Lancaster will be interviewed by Ritchie and a four-man panel this week with a lot at stake for England over the coming weeks.

Failure to appoint the right man could set rugby in this country back years. Get the appointment right, and the score will take care of itself.

Opening for Sir Clive

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie has left the door ajar for Sir Clive Woodward if the list of current applicants for the vacant England head coach’s position fails to measure up.

Sir Clive Woodward and Princess Anne chat during the Men's 3m springboard Semi final at the London Aquatics Centre

In with a shout: Sir Clive Woodward, seen here chatting to Princess Anne at the London Aquatics Centre, has not been ruled out of the running

It was widely believed the selection panel would stick to the current shortlist, which does not include Woodward, but this may not be the case.

Ritchie said: ‘Like any recruitment process, there are people who apply and there are people we approach.’