Stuart Lancaster appointed new England rugby coach
England's interim boss is given permanent job thanks to impressive Six Nations performance
AFTER being given the job on a temporary basis at the end of last year Stuart Lancaster has now been named as permanent coach of the England rugby team, with a contract that runs until January 2016, meaning he will lead England into the 2015 World Cup.
Lancaster took over from previous coach Martin Johnson, who was forced to quit after England's dismal performance in last year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, where they were dogged by scandal and lost to France in the quarter-finals.
Since then, England have improved in almost every match, and finished off their Six Nations campaign with thrilling wins against France and Ireland.
Were it not for a 12-19 loss to Wales at Twickenham, England would have won the tournament and earned a Grand Slam. In the event they came second to Wales.
Lancaster has been praised for removing old stalwarts from the team and putting his trust in youngsters such as Owen Farrell, whose kicking and emergence as a fly-half were instrumental to England's successes.
In landing the top job in England rugby, 42-year-old Lancaster, thought to be the preferred choice of England squad members, beat off competition from former South Africa coach Nick Mallett. He was nominated unanimously by the RFU board.
"I am immensely honoured and proud to accept this role," said Lancaster after the appointment. "The challenge now is to take this squad and the players we will see emerge forward to 2015. It is one that I can't wait to get stuck into."
Forwards coach Graham Rowntree is expected to remain part of Lancaster's set-up - but he might be unable to keep backs coach Andy Farrell, whose Premiership side Saracens are reluctant to let him go.