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England Rugby
Cipriani welcomes Lancaster appointment
ESPNscrum Staff
March 29, 2012
Rebels fly-half Danny Cipriani celebrates a score, Melbourne Rebels v Western Force, Super Rugby, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia, March 23, 2012
Danny Cipriani's hopes of an international recall could be boosted by the appointment of Stuart Lancaster as England head coach. © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Danny Cipriani | Ben Cohen | Stuart Lancaster
Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations
Teams: England

England hopeful Danny Cipriani has joined the long list of people to congratulate Stuart Lancaster on his appointment as England head coach.

The Rugby Football Union confirmed this morning that Lancaster, who led England on an interim basis during the Six Nations, will now lead the national team to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. A host of England players backed Lancaster to get the job after making a positive impression in taking England to a runner-up finish in the championship.

And Cipriani, who will return to England contention next season when he joins Sale Sharks from the Melbourne Rebels, said on Twitter: "Congratulations to Stuart Lancaster. His passion is 2nd to none".

England's World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward also sent a message of congratulations to Lancaster on his appointment. Woodward, director of sport at the British Olympic Association, said: "I would like to extend my congratulations to Stuart Lancaster on his appointment as England rugby head coach.

"The performance of the England team during the recent Six Nations Championship demonstrated great progress and I wish Stuart and his team continued success. The London 2012 Olympics is the start of an exciting series of major sporting events taking place in the UK during the coming years, representing a golden opportunity for British sport.

"Here at the British Olympic Association we are very aware of the significance of enthusiastic home support and I am sure Stuart and his team will enjoy England rugby supporters' full backing going forward towards the Rugby World Cup in 2015 on home soil. With regards to rugby joining the Olympic family, I am looking forward to working with the RFU and all of the other Home Unions to ensure the introduction of rugby sevens to the Olympic Movement is a great success for Team GB and the game of Rugby at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond."

Rugby Players Association chief executive Damian Hopley said: ""I am absolutely thrilled for Stuart and we have all been thoroughly impressed by his professional approach, vision and dedication to achieving the best for English rugby from the day he was appointed interim head coach. Stuart is tremendously popular with the players and quickly earned their respect and trust through his honesty, humility and strong work ethic.

"It is to his and his coaching team's immense credit that they helped to transform the outlook and fortunes of the England squad and have instilled such a strong confidence and culture within the squad in such a short space of time.

"I believe this appointment to be an excellent decision for the players and the future of English rugby and I look forward to working closely with Stuart and the players going forward."

But not everyone agrees. England World Cup winner Ben Cohen believes the RFU have made a mistake.

"I don't think he is the right man," Cohen told talkSPORT radio. "I think he is a man to keep around the squad for the future most definitely and have someone with a bit of experience around that who has maybe got experience in World Cups. Nick Mallett has got credentials coming out of his ears, he has got a great CV. And Wayne Smith. They are people who know how to react in tough times."

England play South Africa four times this year plus Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. If they are not ranked in the world's top four by December England will miss out on top seeding for the World Cup.

"Let's be frank, you look at the Six Nations as a honeymoon period and there are testing times to come ahead," Cohen said. "Yes, he will learn from every game and every situation he has and he has got four years to build up to the World Cup but you want someone who has got experience of managing through that. That's how I see it. Hopefully I am wrong and I will have egg on my face in 18 months' time.

"Will he have the experience and will he have the coaching team he had in the Six Nations? I think it is going to be a watch-this-space scenario."

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