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England's Next Rugby Coach Discussed

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This week, Stuart Lancaster left his post as England’s head coach by mutual consent. The decision followed his poor performance in the Rugby World Cup 2015, which saw England knocked out of the tournament at the pool stages after defeats to Wales and Australia.

Since his dismissal, the big question in the sporting world is just who will replace him? The process to find Lancaster's replacement has begun immediately. But who is the right person to pick up the pieces? Newitts investigates.

 

Lancaster's current position

Lancaster, 46, presided over 28 wins in the 46 Test matches he took charge of, yet his recent dismissal was all based on his World Cup performance.
Lancaster said: “I am obviously extremely saddened to finish the way we did in this World Cup and to step down from the role. As I have always said, I ultimately accept and take responsibility for the team’s performance and we have not delivered the results we all hoped for during this tournament.


“We didn’t achieve success on the field when it mattered and we all have to take responsibility for that but me especially as head coach."

The search is on

The RFU has said it will not be "inhibited" in its search for England's next coach, and said the cost of the global search was not important - the board has made it clear it simply wants to find the best possible successor to Lancaster.
RFU chief executive, Ian Ritchie, said; "We're looking for a head coach with international experience."
He added; "It doesn't rule out a foreign coach, it doesn't rule out an English coach. The nationality is not important, getting the right coach is important."
The futures of Lancaster's assistant coaches Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and Mike Catt will be decided by the new head coach.

Who could the next head coach be?

Since the announcement after Tuesday's board meeting, there has already been media speculation regarding who might be right for the job. The "global search" for a new head coach will be carried out by Ritchie, a trained barrister responsible for extending Lancaster's contract last year.


There has been reports that the RFU president has already made contact with Australian coach Michael Cheika, but this has since been denied. Certainly Cheika, who remains under contract until 2017 with the Wallabies, has shown he can transform a team guiding Wallabies to the World Cup final 2015 in the space of just 12 months - an impressive feat. Or could Cheika's assistant Stephen Larkham be a new contender? With the rapid improvement being shown by the current Wallaby fly-half - it surely cannot all be attributed to Cheika?


Japan showed in the latest World Cup 2015 that they currently had the best technical skills thanks to Eddie Jones who showed the rest of the world Japan's outstanding ball presentation, sure ball handling and up-tempo style. Furthermore, Eddie Jones has enjoyed success all over the world, in particular when he was part of South Africa’s World Cup-winning management team in 2007.

Wayne Smith, has been hotly tipped to make a great attack coach. Smith, who was part of the All Blacks coaching staff from 2004 through to the team's victory at Rugby World Cup 2011, and Chiefs Assistant Coach from 2012-2014, came in as a specialist defence coach in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup 2015, and he clearly did an amazing job taking the team all the way to victory at the final.

Head Coach, Steve Hansen, said on his return; "He is one of the most astute rugby coaches in world rugby and having worked with him in the past, we know just how valuable he is to any team he is involved in."

Nearer to home, there remain a further few potential contenders for the role. Take Warren Gatland, who showed his disregard for media opinion by famously omitting Brian O'Driscoll from the third Lions Test in 2013, yet still emerged victorious. Or Steve Hansen, who is slowly carving a name for himself at making strong squads even stronger, Waisake Naholo being the latest example.

Finally, Jake White, the man to take South Africa to victory in the 2007 World Cup, remains a potential contender. White is currently in charge of Montpellier but he confirmed on Wednesday that he would be interesting in taking over the job, despite the fact that it has become a lot less appealing in the past few years.

 

Who do YOU think will take over the position of Head Coach for the England rugby team? We'd love to hear your views below.

 

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