RFU hand reigns to Lancaster… just as we told you they would!
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
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
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
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
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.
Makes his debut for Leeds, where he became a regular fixture in the
side. Lancaster was Leeds' regular flanker and captain until 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.
Became the director of rugby at Leeds Carnegie and led them to
promotion back to the Premiership following a title-winning season in
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.