Stuart Lancaster favours English successor to Eddie Jones after World Cup

The RFU has already begun the process of identifying Jones’ replacement
Stuart Lancaster favours English successor to Eddie Jones after World Cup

Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent

Former England head coach Stuart Lancaster approves of the Rugby Football Union’s strong preference to appoint an English successor to Eddie Jones because of the motivating power of nationality.

Twickenham has already begun the process of identifying Jones’ replacement having backed the Australian to lead the team into the 2023 World Cup, after which his eight-year reign will end.

The plan is for the appointment to be made next summer with a view to the chosen candidate shadowing Jones during the global showpiece in France.

Eddie Jones will step down after the 2023 World Cup
Eddie Jones will step down after the 2023 World Cup (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Chief executive Bill Sweeney wants an Englishman for the role and Lancaster, who was in charge from 2011 to 2015, agrees with limiting the geographic scope of the search.

“Within the coaching team, ideally, I wouldn’t disagree that you’d want stability and ideally an English flavour,” Leinster senior coach Lancaster told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast.

“I don’t think they should all necessarily be English, but you should have an English flavour. And ideally, and I’m biased obviously, an English coach.

“I was proud, as we all were, to coach the national team and I felt a huge sense of responsibility to do right for the team, but also to do right for the country as well. I think you feel that deeply when it is your country. It is important.

“I don’t think the whole coaching team has to be all English, a little bit of diversity in there wouldn’t be a bad thing. But you definitely want an English feel to it and an English system.”

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney is already looking for Eddie Jones' successor
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney is already looking for Eddie Jones’ successor (Nick Ansell/PA)

Lancaster left Twickenham after England failed to qualify for the knockout phase of the 2015 World Cup, but the 52-year-old has successfully rebuilt his career at Leinster since.

In a twist of fate, he has been joined in Ireland by his former assistants Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt.

Farrell has overseen Ireland’s resurgence – they finished second in the recent Six Nations and are looking formidable – while England fell to three defeats for a second successive Championship.

“It was worrying for me when I lost the job that a lot of good people left the union at the same time. A lot of good English coaches left the system and are in Ireland,” Lancaster said.

“There are four of us in Ireland. Without a doubt Andy Farrell’s appointment has made Ireland stronger on the back of what Joe Schmidt did.

“England were behind in the Six Nations in the table and didn’t do as well in the Under 20s as Ireland did. Ireland are going to be a force to be reckoned with, for sure. For 2023 and 2027 and beyond.

“It’s not just about having more money and more players, it’s about having good alignment, good plans and good people. Ireland have definitely got that.”

Lancaster’s contract with Leinster expires in 2023, making him a strong contender to replace Jones, but he insists it would be a wrench to depart Dublin.

“It’s going to take a strong argument to leave Leinster because it’s such an enjoyable [experience]," Lancaster said.

“Obviously what does go through your mind when you’ve been there a while is ‘is the message getting stale, are they bored of hearing the same delivery and training sessions’. I’m very conscious of it,” Lancaster said.

“What made Manchester United stay at the top for so long is that they made change before change is needed. It could be a change of an assistant coach, a (David) Beckham, a (Roy) Keane, someone else coming in.

“If the players are still saying ‘we’re motivated’, then it’s a very hard place to leave. I genuinely love it.”

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