Rugby Union

Stuart Lancaster handed contract extension by RFU

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster has been handed a six-year contract extension by the Rugby Football Union and will now be in charge beyond the 2019 World Cup, reports the Daily Mail.

Lancaster initially took the job as part of an interim coaching team before being offered the role permanently in 2012 with a contract that was due to expire in January 2016.

His coaching team of Graham Rowntree, Mike Catt and Andy Farrell have also all signed new deals, which run until 2020, in a huge show of support from the RFU.

World Cup looming

The news will come as a relief to England fans keen on ensuring the team keeps its stability ahead of the World Cup next year.

The former Leeds boss however is retaining his focus on the upcoming autumn Tests and he said: "It's great that the RFU have got faith in us as a coaching group and its support has been critical to what we have achieved to date.

"While our focus is on the QBE International against New Zealand, and the 2015 World Cup on home soil will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we want to build a team for England Rugby that leads into Japan in 2019 and beyond.

"We believe that England Rugby is moving in the right direction, we have the right coaching and management team to take us forward and are excited about the challenge ahead."

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Lucky

Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said the RFU were keen to ensure the close-knit coaching staff committed their long-term futures to England ahead of what is set to be one of the most exciting periods in English rugby.

"We are lucky to have a talented, committed and passionate coaching group." he said.

"Coaching at international level is unique in that the time Stuart and the coaches have with the players is limited and in that regard it requires a special and stable coaching team.

"We therefore felt it important to secure their long-term future and we believe this is entirely the right decision for the future of England Rugby."

Praise

Lancaster has been widely heralded during his time in charge, particularly for making sure his players understand the significance and importance of playing international rugby.

The 44-year old - who retired from playing the game in 2000 - has endured notable successes during his reign to date, including an impressive 38-21 victory over New Zealand in December 2012.

That win came after he had guided England to a second-placed six nations finish - a feat he has managed twice more since.

He will be hoping his players can show their worth against the best teams the Southern Hemisphere has to offer when England face New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Australia this autumn.

But the long-term goal appears to be success at the 2015 World Cup - to be held in England - after Martin Johnson could only manage a disappointing quarter-final exit in 2011.

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Topics:
Rugby Union
England Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup

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