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Power surge for Lancaster

Stuart Lancaster has completed a remarkable rise to the top of the Rugby Football Union after being given a powerful new role overseeing the entire England structure.

Twelve months after being a relative unknown placed in interim charge of the England team, Lancaster is now effectively the RFU's elite rugby director responsible for all national teams and player development.

The England structure has been carved out of Rob Andrew's current responsibilities, leaving him clear to concentrate on his main task of renegotiating the RFU's new deal with Premiership Rugby.

The latest restructure was recommended by Peter Keen, the former UK Sport performance director, and Sir Ian McGeechan in a report commissioned in the wake of last year's Rugby World Cup debacle.

Lancaster and Andrew both had significant input into the review.

"This is the option the five of us believe is the right structure to optimise the performance of the England team," said RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie.

The RFU board has also backed a recommendation for a new rugby performance centre - akin to the Football Association's St George's Park complex - to be established by the end of 2016.

Ritchie would not rule out a partnership with the FA or another sporting body but ideally the RFU wants a specialist rugby centre of excellence.

Less than two years ago, Lancaster applied to become the RFU's new performance director, a position that was subsequently scrapped from the structure when John Steele was ousted as chief executive.

Under this new structure, Lancaster will head up the newly-created international performance department. The RFU will recruit a new head of player development to report into him.


From Belfast Telegraph