Lancaster: World Cup seeding is vital
March 25, 2012
Stuart Lancaster is looking to the future © Getty Images
Stuart Lancaster believes that a fast-improving England can challenge for the Rugby World Cup in 2015, whoever is in charge.
The interim coach, who was interviewed for the top job by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) last week, has called for maximum effort on this summer's tour to South Africa in order to secure a seeding.
The top four teams in the International Rugby Board's rankings will avoid one another when the draw for the tournament - to be hosted in England - is made later this year. England are in pole position to join New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, but under pressure from Grand Slam-winners Wales.
"To break into the top bracket, you've got to win in the southern hemisphere, or beat southern hemisphere opposition," he told The Mirror.
"We have three big Test matches in South Africa this summer, then four big games at Twickenham in the autumn. The Six Nations was exciting and progress was made, but we still have improvements to make all across the park. I believe we can win the World Cup, whoever is in charge."
Lancaster is battling with Nick Mallett, the former Springbok and Italy coach, for the England job, but is planning on being in South Africa in June come what may. He has begun planning for the tour and also put his hand up to coach the midweek side should he lose out to Mallett.
"It's out of my hands now," he said. "If it's not to be, then I would go back to my role as RFU Head of Elite Player Development and Saxons head coach.
"I could coach the midweek team on tour, otherwise I would be at the Under-20 World Cup. Right now, my mindset is to ensure everything is in place for the tour. Not from a personal viewpoint, but because it is simply impossible for anybody else to go forward, from a medical point of view, conditioning, booking flights, hotels.
"These are not the sort of things you can do two weeks before you fly. It is always part of my nature, planning ahead, and it would be so unfair to the players not to have a vision for the future, as it would be unfair for the management."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship