Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lancaster Had Clear Ideas, but Not over Team

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lancaster Had Clear Ideas, but Not over Team

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones Rugby Correspondent

calamity coach's england record Tests 46 Wins 28 Draws 1 Losses 17 Win percentage 61% Honours None Wins against 'big three' 3

UNDER Stuart Lancaster, England became the nearly men of European rugby and in four Six Nations campaigns they finished runners-up.

It meant England were fundamentally flawed going into the 2015 World Cup because, like his players, Lancaster had no knowledge of how it felt to achieve a title success -- although he had read a lot of books by men who had achieved glory. Lancaster used their experiences to formulate his theory on success which he carried around in a black A4 diary.

But what his critics pointed to, as the World Cup disaster unfolded, was his lack of international experience prior to him getting the job.

Lancaster's reign as England head coach was defined by discipline. As a former school teacher, he believed in getting this most basic of attributes instilled in his charges. Dylan Hartley, Danny Care and Manu Tuilagi all fell foul of Lancaster's strict policy introduced in the wake of the failed 2011 World Cup campaign.

The off-field shenanigans and splits within the coaching group and the squad convinced Lancaster that anyone who took over the helm had to take the players back to basics. It turned out that Lancaster was that man and his first decision as temporary head coach was to take the England squad to his own rugby club, West Park Leeds, for a squad session that involved reintroducing the players to the English rugby public.

He laid out his plans to win back disaffected supporters and the players agreed to buy into the concept that, by its nature, highlighted just how far things had regressed under Martin Johnson's time as England team manager.

Lancaster (right) quickly achieved his aim of putting the pride back into the England shirt and redesigned the Twickenham home dressing room to remind each player of the heritage that comes with being allowed to wear the red rose jersey. This was all designed to create a winning culture but, as Sir up ted Clive Woodward wrote in the aftermath of last month's World Cup disaster, a winning culture is created by a winning team -- not the other way around. …

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