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.
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
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9