Lancaster seen as right man to take on England temporarily

Stuart Lancaster
Stuart Lancaster
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Former team-mates of Stuart Lancaster yesterday urged the Rugby Football Union to appoint the ex-Leeds Carnegie player and director of rugby as England’s interim head coach.

Lancaster – who spent 16 years with Leeds – is the favourite to lead England into the Six Nations in the Spring while the authorities search for a long-term successor to Martin Johnson.

That appointment of an experienced head coach will be made ahead of the team’s June tour to South Africa.

But before that, the 42-year-old Cumbrian appears the man best placed to steer England out of a troublesome period and towards a brighter future.

Current Leeds head coach Diccon Edwards – who has overseen a winning run of seven straight wins as he looks to emulate Lancaster in winning promotion in his first season – said: “Stuart has done an outstanding job over many years in whatever role he has performed.

“He would relish taking this job and helping England through a difficult period. The squad contains world-class players who, by their own admission, under-performed at the World Cup.

“I am sure that Stuart would create an environment that means they can put that experience behind them and begin to look forward to the Six Nations.”

Edwards worked in the academy department with Lancaster and was also a team-mate of his, as was United States international Mike MacDonald.

The long-serving prop spent his first two seasons in West Yorkshire – 2006-08 – under the guidance of Lancaster.

MacDonald said: “Making Stuart interim manager would be a very smart move on the RFU’s part.

“They do not want to rush into a snap decision on the long-term successor to Martin Johnson and in Stuart they have someone who has the right resume to take them forward.

“He would be well-received by the players. He is a straightforward guy who expects the same in return. He is very approachable as a coach, but he also demands the most from you and players respect that.”

In his time with the renowned Leeds academy, Lancaster helped progress the careers of future England internationals Danny Care and Jordan Crane.