- Stuart Lancaster updates on his first 10 days as Interim England Head Coach
- "We’ve got seven or eight training sessions to put it all together," says Lancaster
Enthusiasm permeates all that England’s Interim Head Coach Stuart Lancaster has done in his first ten days in the job but he appreciates there is great deal to achieve with the RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland looming at Murrayfield on February 4.
Lancaster leads the new coaching trio of Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell and the former Leeds Carnegie man outlined the challenge of bedding in young players and learning a fresh style of rugby.
This only increases the importance of Lancaster’s first few weeks at the helm, which he has filled with watching as many games as possible, visiting Premiership Directors of Rugby and speaking to decorated former internationals.
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He said: "Scotland is coming round the corner very quickly so we need to coach well.
"We’ve got a completely new coaching team, with some new players and probably a new way of playing, and we’ve got seven or eight training sessions to put it all together. And that’s on the field, off the field we’ve got a lot to do as well. It’s going to be a pretty full-on two weeks prior to Scotland but it is exciting.
"I’ve been to meet Dai Young of Wasps and Toby Booth of London Irish to do that Director of Rugby visit and to get an understanding of their thoughts on their players, which as I said at the outset is important.
"I’m also going out to France in early January to see Jonny Wilkinson in Toulon, Lewis Moody is next week and Steve Thompson rang me too. You’ve got a hell of a lot of experience in those players, I’d be foolish not to use that. Not just on the game itself but also the environment and the culture surrounding being an England player."
Much has been made of the integrated coaching structure between Lancaster, Rowntree and Farrell, and although the trio know each other well, Lancaster emphasised the importance of getting their coaching philosophies aligned as quickly as possible.
Farrell’s responsibilities as Head Coach of Aviva Premiership champions Saracens remain until the training camp – which takes place before the Scotland week – but Lancaster says that is not an issue as they are in regular contact.
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He added: "I’ve also been generally been trying to pull the management team together to get an understanding of how we’re all going to work.
"Clearly the three if us will spend a lot of time together. Andy will find time within his Saracens commitments as it’s important we catch up and align our own coaching philosophies and make sure we’re on the same page from a rugby point of view. Pulling those together into one philosophy is important and we need to do that sooner rather than later.
"Andy’s commitments mean he won’t be visiting clubs or players but ultimately he’ll come into camp and then be full time with us. Graham and I will speak more often – on a daily basis – about selection and where we’re going."