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Lancaster on his coaching team for "Lions-esque" tour

25 April 2012

  • Stuart Lancaster discusses his coaching team plans with RFU.com
  • Short-term and long-term considerations for Head Coach
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster

Photo: Getty Images

With 45 days to go until the first Test of England’s five-match tour to South Africa, establishing the right coaching set-up has been a priority for England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster.

Andy Farrell announced on April 12 that he was staying with Aviva Premiership Champions Saracens and since then Lancaster has been scouring the world to add the right person to his senior coaching staff alongside Forwards Coach Graham Rowntree.

The former Head of Elite Player Development explained to RFU.com that the factors affecting his decisions are different than when he took the interim position for the RBS 6 Nations.

With England due to arrive in South Africa on May 31 for their first ever three-Test tour to the country, Lancaster said: “I was in the position when I was appointed interim coach that I needed to put a team together quickly.

"And in that situation you go to people you’ve worked with before and people you trust. Now there are short term and long term considerations.

"South Africa is just around the corner and not only that it is a big tour, you’ve not just got three Tests but two midweek games, so it is Lions-esque in its formation."

Stuart Lancaster in the foreground as his squad huddle after a training session

Photo: Getty Images

Given Lancaster intends to name a squad of more than 40 for the trip on May 10 there will be support coaches help with the midweek games and maximise the tour’s potential and in giving the players the feedback they deserve.

"There will be three main coaches but to do this tour with just three coaches would be a stretch so we’ll need some support in there too,” the 42-year-old added.

"So short term we need to find a replacement for Andy for the tour and some support coaches who can come in and help out with the team that plays in midweek. And also on the sheer logistics of it – we’re going to select 40 plus players and we want to make sure we give them the feedback they deserve.

"And long term as well I want to make sure we’ve got the best coaching team to take us not only through the QBE Internationals this autumn and next year’s Six Nations but right the way through Rugby World Cup 2015."

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster (R) and RBS 6 Nations Backs Coach Andy Farrell in conversation

Photo: Getty Images

Although Farrell will no longer be part of the England coaching set-up, Lancaster was keen to point out the legacy the Saracens Head Coach has left with the new-look squad, given the seminal period his eight weeks with England represents.

England named eight uncapped players in the match day squad for the RBS 6 Nations opener in Scotland as the building process started towards the home world cup in 2015 and Lancaster said Farrell played a big role in shaping the culture they will carry forward.

He added: "I had a great relationship with Andy from the Saxons, I enjoyed working with him and felt he was the right man to help us through that Six Nations period.

"And he did exactly that, he had a massive impact on the players and on the environment and culture. He’s obviously stepped from playing to coaching seamlessly and then transferred that club coaching to international coaching.

"He was brilliant for me and we had a fantastic journey through the Six Nations together. He had decisions to make after the tournament and I fully respect those decisions. We still have a great relationship and will talk all the time."

England fixtures in South Africa

Saturday, June 9: South Africa v England (1st Test)
Mr Price King’s Park, Durban (kick off 17h00 local, 16h00 BST)

Wednesday, June 13: SA Barbarians South v England
GWK Park, Kimberley (kick off 14h30 local, 13h30 BST)

Saturday, June 16: South Africa v England (2nd Test)
Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg (kick off 17h00 local, 16h00 BST)

Tuesday, June 19: SA Barbarians North v England
Profert Olen Park, Potchefstroom (kick off 19h10 local, 18h10 BST)

Saturday, June 23: South Africa v England (3rd Test)
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth (kick off 17h00 local, 16h00 BST)