Lancaster: Players have a year to impress
August 26, 2012
Stuart Lancaster: Time for experimenting is almost at an end © Getty Images
England head coach Stuart Lancaster has warned his players time is running out to force their way into contention for the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
Lancaster has brought a host of new players into the England set up since taking over as care-taker, and then permanent, head coach. He led a new-look England to second in the Six Nations earlier in the year and then took an expanded tour party to South Africa over the summer - a series they lost 2-0.
But Lancaster insists the time for experimenting is coming to an end as, in order to challenge the likes of World Cup holders New Zealand, he hopes to have a settled side for the two years in the build up to the 2015 World Cup in England.
"We have a World Cup in England in three years' time and we're expected, and should be expected, to do very well in it," he told the Mail on Sunday. "We've one year left to get things up to speed. That will be the end of the development stage and the start of our countdown to the World Cup. I'd like two years of a settled team."
Lancaster is determined to identify and nurture world class players who are in the world's top three in their positions. And he added: "We need players with stardust. We need players who can turn a game, and win it, with one flash of world-class star quality."
When asked if he possessed those players now, he said: "We need to give a few diamonds a good polish."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column