Lancaster looking to future

Andy Farrell, left, Stuart Lancaster, middle, and Graham Rowntree face the press at Twickenham. Photograph: Andrew Fosker/ Seconds Left Images

England’s new interim head coach Stuart Lancaster has outlined his desire to look at new players in next year’s RBS Six Nations.

The Rugby Football Union confirmed on Thursday that Lancasterwould be stepping up from his current dual role of England Saxons coach and head of player development to take charge on a short-term basis.

While the search continues to find a permanent replacement for Martin Johnson, Lancaster will to take charge for the early months of 2012.

The former director of rugby at Leeds will be assisted by Graham Rowntree, the only member of England’s senior World Cup management team to be retained, and Andy Farrell, who has been seconded from Saracens.

“Clearly the head coach and the coaching team have got the responsibility to have a clear philosophy,” Lancaster said. “We have to be clear in the way we want to play and have a clear standard of performance.

“My belief as a coach is that if you’re strong in that area then players will buy into it.

“Clearly we’ve got 12 different, strong cultures in our professional game. We need the players to be open-minded enough to play in our style.

“In terms of selection, our first port of call will be to the directors of rugby (at the clubs). Having been a director of rugby, I know that nobody knows the players better than them.

“Obviously we want to make changes in the squad and look at new players, give them some opportunities in the Six Nations.

“But the order of events will be to take on board the feedback from the directors of rugby, collect our own views and then when the time comes to select the EPS squad of both the seniors and the Saxons, we certainly want to give some opportunities for new players.”

While he may have to step aside after the Six Nations, Lancaster is determined to lay some solid foundations for England’s long-term future.

“We have the talent clearly in this country,” he added. “We want to finish the Six Nations in a strong position, with a strong foundation building to 2015.

“We have 41 games between now and the next World Cup and we need to use those games wisely.”

New start

Rowntree admitted it was a “new start” for the national team after a difficult World Cup that was blighted by off-field issues.

The former England international was scrum coach under Johnson but will now be in charge of the forwards as a whole, a role previously filled by Jon Wells.

“This is a new start,” Rowntree enthused. “The World Cup is done. It’s been covered, well-documented. That’s history.

“Now we’re looking forward with a young group of players and a new coaching group. I’m very excited and also privileged as well to be here alongside these two guys.”

Saracens coach Farrell was also looking forward to the opportunity to work on the international scene – something he admits wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the backing of his club.

“What a fantastic opportunity, there’s excitement running through my veins,” he said. “To be given a chance to coach my country in a fantastic competition like the Six Nations is great.

“Without Saracens’ backing this could not have been achievable. I thank them so much for this opportunity.”