England make move for Farrell
March 30, 2012
England's Six Nations coaching team is set to be reunited © Getty Images
England's 2012 Six Nations coaching team could be reunited in full-time roles during the next few days.
That prospect has moved a step closer following a brief Saracens statement on Friday that "cordial and constructive discussions" have started between themselves and the Rugby Football Union. Those talks will focus on current Saracens first team coach Andy Farrell, who was part of England's coaching team alongside Stuart Lancaster and Graham Rowntree.
The Saracens statement read: "Saracens and the RFU today started cordial and constructive discussions on the subject of support staff for newly-appointed England coach Stuart Lancaster. The club will not provide a running commentary on this process and will make no further comment until the deliberations reach a conclusion."
The RFU on Thursday upgraded Six Nations interim head coach Stuart Lancaster to a permanent role on a contract that will incorporate World Cup 2015 in England. Forwards specialist Graham Rowntree, Press Association Sport understands, is set to follow Lancaster by landing a long-term deal. And that then leaves the possible sticking point - backs and defence coach Farrell, the dual code rugby international who is Saracens' first team coach and under contract to them.
Lancaster, Rowntree and Farrell - despite being together for just eight weeks - masterminded a second-placed finish in this season's Six Nations. England won four out of their five Tests, including claiming three away victories for the first time in one Six Nations campaign.
They also went within a converted try of holding eventual Six Nations and Grand Slam champions Wales. Lancaster has said he knows the coaching team he wants to take England forward, with his next assignment being a three-Test tour of South Africa in June when England will face the Springboks in Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth on successive weekends.
The appointment of Rowntree, who is already on the RFU payroll, is not expected to pose any problems. But prising Farrell from Saracens may be a trickier proposition, with their chief executive Edward Griffiths insistent that they do not want to lose him. The fact that talks are under way, though, suggests Farrell could be on his way to England sooner, rather than later, especially if a satisfactory financial compensation deal can be thrashed out.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
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