RFU set to turn their attention to Farrell
March 30, 2012
Will England's Six Nations management team be back in place for the summer tour of South Africa? © Getty Images
With the question mark surrounding the identity of England's new head coach answered with the appointment of Stuart Lancaster, the Rugby Football Union will now focus on putting his chosen management team in place.
Lancaster steered England to second place in this year's Six Nations as interim coach during which time he was ably supported by Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell. Rowntree's continued presence is not in doubt as he remains on the RFU payroll having previously served under former manager Martin Johnson but Farrell was only seconded from Premiership side Saracens for the Six Nations.
No approach had been made by last night as the RFU focused on finalising Lancaster's appointment to lead England into the home Rugby World Cup in 2015 but the phone call appears imminent in the hope of securing Farrell's release from a two-year contract. However, Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths insists that they do not want to lose their highly-regarded coach.
"The RFU asked if they could loan Andy Farrell for the Six Nations, which we did in the national interest," Griffiths told BBC 5 Live. "They made it very clear that it was just for the Six Nations. He is contracted to us for another two years and he is a massive part of what we're planning here as a club, and that's really the situation. We will doubtless talk to the RFU shortly and hear what they have got to say, but from a Saracens perspective Andy is a big part of our club and a big part of our future."
Lancaster also stressed that he thought that continuity was key to England's future success. "There has been an order of events and it has all happened for me very quickly in the sense that the final interview was last week and I was told (of his appointment) in the middle of this week," Lancaster said.
"For the RFU the priority was to get everything out of the way for me and then look at what I had put forward as my preferred coaching team. But clearly there is a right way to do these things and the right thing to do is to have the conversations privately and that is what is going to happen over the course of the next few weeks and we will see how we go. From my point of view we had a great Six Nations and I would like to keep moving in that direction."
New Zealand's attack specialist Wayne Smith would be a prime candidate to join the England set-up after the three-Test tour to South Africa. Smith is keen on a return to Test rugby after helping New Zealand win the 2011 World Cup, he will be available for the start of next season and England need to add an attacking element to their game.
Lancaster indicated yesterday he would not push for the recruitment of a team manager to take charge of discipline, a new position proposed in a review into England's failed World Cup campaign. Johnson struggled to impose discipline during that doomed campaign but Lancaster set the tone from the outset by axing Danny Care from the squad following his arrest for drink driving.
RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie insisted there would be no structural changes that would create a new director of rugby role, thereby appearing to end speculation about a potential return for Sir Clive Woodward.
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