Stuart Lancaster has finally answered the speculation surrounding his future. The Leinster senior coach has been linked to a return to the England set-up, with the RFU’s interim CEO Nigel Melville last week saying he’d not rule out an approach.
“I think they suggested that every coach in world rugby is of interest, I don’t think it’s narrowed down to me,” Lancaster said.
“I think Nigel Melville said they’d be happy to talk to any coach and I’d fall into that category.”
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Lancaster’s name has also been mentioned when it comes to Ireland, to join Andy Farrell’s coaching team when the defence coach is promoted to head coach role following the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
“It’s up to Andy to build his coaching team. The reality is he needs his coaching team to be ready by January 2020. I’ve not caught up with him actually since the announcement, I will do soon I’m sure and it will be up to him to shape that. I’ll have that conversation with him.
“He’s the right man for the job, in my opinion. I think that when Joe (Schmidt) announced he was going there was only one person I felt was qualified to do the job and that was Andy. He’s sat as an assistant coach for eight years now, four with me and four with Joe.
“And when you’re sat in that assistant coaching role you can learn a lot about what you would do when you get your chance and Andy has got the opportunity now over the next six to nine months to put that into place.
“I think of my appointment as England head coach, I got it in December and my first game was in January. Andy’s got a year to decide what he wants to do, so I don’t think he’ll be in a hurry.”
Lancaster insists he isn’t bothered about all the chatter around his future.
“I’m used to it (speculation). I’ve been consistent since I’ve been here. I’ve really enjoyed Leinster, I really enjoy coaching at Leinster. It’s a great team and a great environment to work in.
“I enjoy club coaching, I enjoy the day-in, day-out interaction with the players. I enjoy the moments when the internationals are away and we’ve got the younger players to coach.
“All this speculation, it’s like people are ringing me all the time – I don’t get any phone calls. So, I’m just ploughing along, enjoying what I’m doing at Leinster.
Lancaster joined Leinster in 2016 and has had a successful stint as senior coach under Leo Cullen, notably helping the club to a European Champions Cup and PRO14 double last season. The Yorkshireman’s current deal at Leinster is due to run out at the end of the season, but Lancaster isn’t overly concerned.
“I don’t look too far ahead anymore, I was contracted with England until 2019 and that changed on the World Cup.
“There’s definitely talks ongoing (with Leinster) and I’m happy with where I’m at.”
“The family situation works. It’s not ideal, and I’ve said that consistently; that flying backwards and forwards…my daughter’s just gone to university and my son is a year away from going to university. I occasionally see my wife.
“But yeah I’m certainly happy with Leinster but we’ll see how it all plays out.”
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