Catt hails Lancaster effect
June 22, 2012
Mike Catt's role within the England coaching team will be reviewed at the end of the tour to South Africa © Getty Images
Mike Catt has offered a ringing endorsement of the Stuart Lancaster regime by declaring the England team is developing at a faster pace than it did under Rugby World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward.
England may have lost their first two Tests to the South Africa on their current tour but Catt, who featured strongly in England's memorable 2003 World Cup triumph, sees plenty of reason for hope having joined Lancaster's support staff for the series.
"I came from an outsider's point of view and have been very impressed with the environment Stuart has created - the enthusiasm from the players, the players love going to England again, which is brilliant," he said, having joined Lancaster's support staff on a short-term contract for the tour.
"It probably took Clive three years to get where Stuart is now, that is what I would say. That is how good it is. I would like to think a lot of these youngsters have got two World Cups in them. Hopefully in three years or seven years' time these guys will look back on this tour and say, 'This is the kickstart we needed to go on and be successful'."
England will be looking for a consolation victory against the Springboks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday in the third and final Test but even if they fail in that quest, Catt believes the tour will have been productive.
"Stuart has learned a lot about certain individuals who can and can't work in extreme environments," he said. "He will obviously come away from the tour, building towards the 2015 World Cup, knowing who he wants in his squad, who is capable of going to the extremes, taking themselves out of the comfort zone and performing on a regular basis at that level. In terms of individual development, you are not going to come to a tougher place in world rugby to experience things."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship