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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 to get England job

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

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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.