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Lancaster striving for Olympic fitness

16 August 2012

  • Stuart Lancaster talks about Olympic fitness message to his players
  • Head Coach admires Team GB’s dedication and professionalism
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster looks on during a training session in South Africa

Photo: Getty Images

The theme for athletes at London 2012 was ‘Inspire a Generation’ and Stuart Lancaster is hoping Team GB can motivate his current crop players to similar glory at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

England’s Senior and Saxons Elite Players Squads assembled in Loughborough for their summer camp fresh with memories of Mo Farah, Jess Ennis and Greg Rutherford’s golds from the night before in their minds.

And with the buzz of Team GB’s exploits evident in the squad as they sat down for the first team meeting, Lancaster was keen to discuss their all-encompassing professionalism and unwavering commitment as he sets the course for the world cup on home turf in three years’ time.  

The Head Coach said: "I made huge reference to the Olympics. You look at the quality of the Olympians from Great Britain, the way they performed and professionalism in the way they prepared.

“I talked to the players about Olympic fitness and I didn’t mean I want everyone to be like Bradley Wiggins or Mo Farah and weigh 10 stone. What I meant was the dedication to become that good and that professional in everything they do.”

England hooker Rob Webber hip thrusts some serious weights during a gym session in Loughborough

Photo: RFU Archive

Lancaster’s admiration for British Cycling supremo Dave Brailsford and his impact on the sport is clear, given his desire to have Brailsford address the squad – alongside fellow guest speakers Hugh Morris, Kevin Sinfield and Gary Neville – when he first met the squad in Leeds before this season’s RBS 6 Nations.

And that respect has only increased with Team Sky’s historic Tour de France victory this summer, and especially the culture of self-sacrifice for the greater good that Brailsford has established in his team.

Discussing the edifying influence of people from outside the sport, he said: “I was interested in Team Sky and how they won the Tour de France, how they got that selflessness in a team so that people who were gold medallists, winners themselves, were supporting Bradley Wiggins in winning the Tour de France.

“I was also interested in how that team was built because Dave Brailsford was running British Cycling and then he had to build Team Sky. In the book ‘The Sky’s The Limit’ he talks about bringing guys in from outside cycling to bring new ideas and that is definitely something we need to do. Over the next 12 months the evolution of the team that surrounds the players will get stronger.”

England full back Alex Goode leaps to collect a high ball during the captain's run before the third Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth

Photo: Getty Images

Among the review of the South Africa tour, reminders of defensive principles and attacking shape, and discussion of the journey to 2015, one other message was left with the players, one which filled them with anticipation.

The groundswell of public support behind Team GB during the Olympics was startling, even for a sport loving nation, and Lancaster pointed out that the next major sporting event in this country will be the home world cup in 2015.

“I also spoke to the players about the power of a nation behind a team,” added Lancaster. “You watch it and you see what it means to the country and how that transfers into the athletes and their performances.

“The next big sporting event in England of that sort of size is the world cup in 2015. We’ve got that coming round the corner in our sport – how exciting will that be.”