Lancaster: England aren't arrogant
March 4, 2014
Stuart Lancaster has attempted to forge a new-look England © Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster has dismissed any notion of arrogance surrounding his current squad.
Three games into the tournament and England are in a four-horse race for the championship. The traditional talk of rivalry has inevitably preceded the matches between the home nations but the tag of 'arrogant England', a description of previous squads, has not been levelled at Lancaster's team.
The overhaul of the team in the wake of the disastrous 2011 World Cup has been mirrored by the determination to rebuild the nation's reputation away from the pitch. Lancaster's England value humility and the head coach admits he would be stung if the arrogant tag surfaces before Wales arrive at Twickenham.
"I'd be disappointed if it was put against us as a group because I don't think it's a reflection of the group at all," he said. "We want to come across as a group that's got our feet on the ground, that's not getting carried away with ourselves and have a bit of humility about ourselves."
Providing ammunition for Wales in a fixture that dates back to 1881 and spans 124 games - the ledger is tied at 56 wins apiece with 12 draws - is the elitist image of the English game.
But of the likely starting XV on Sunday - an unchanged team is likely to be named on Friday morning - only two players will not have been educated at state schools.
"I'm quite fortunate that having worked in education I've seen it from both sides," Lancaster said. "I've taught in a comprehensive, I went to a boarding school myself and I've coached in both.
"I think the appeal of our system is that players can get through from both areas. State school lads have now got unbelievable opportunities to come through and become international rugby players. That's important.
"The English rugby public connect with the team, not necessarily the educational background of the players. It's good we've got two avenues now where players can come through.
"The fortunate thing is that we have a wide net in England, which is where our depth should come from. Now we're beginning to see that depth coming through."
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