Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Lancaster eyeing long stay

Stuart Lancaster has a long-term vision for England
Stuart Lancaster has a long-term vision for England

England head coach Stuart Lancaster is already looking beyond the 2015 World Cup as he prepares for his third Six Nations Championship at the helm.

Lancaster took over as interim head coach following the exit of Martin Johnson in 2011 and was handed the full-time job after guiding England to second place in the Six Nations the following year.

Later that year, the 44-year-old engineered a record-breaking 38-21 win over New Zealand at Twickenham before steering his troops to another second-placed finish against their nearest rivals.

England begin their 2014 campaign against France on February 1 but many eyes are already looking ahead to the World Cup on home soil next autumn.

Lancaster's current contract runs until January 2016 and, while the former Leeds chief insists his focus is on this World Cup cycle, he is already eyeing a longer stay in his post.

"I understand my role will quite rightly be assessed on how we do in 2015, and that's where the priority is," he told the Daily Express.

"But equally I have always wanted to try to build long-term high-performing teams and clearly a big motivation for me would be try to continue in the role.

"It takes a long time to get to grips with it and when I look at the successful teams they are the ones who have had stability and continuity. But I also understand we have to achieve success in the short term."

Lancaster points to Sir Alex Ferguson's 27 trophy-laden years at Manchester United and Arsene Wenger's 17 years at Arsenal as examples that stability is often the way to produce results.

"If you asked any international coaches, they would want to be in the job as long as they can be. It's a brilliant job," he said.

"When I look at other sports, it's the Wenger's and the Fergusons, Phil Jackson on basketball, Bill Walsh in American football, who have created long-term success.

"It gives the organisation a better chance to be successful if there's stability. But I also understand that you have to keep winning to achieve that."

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