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Lancaster responds to Ireland speculation

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PRO 14    

Lancaster clarifies position on Ireland as speculation continues

Stuart Lancaster has poured cold water on the suggestion that he could still link up with Ireland after the 2019 World Cup.

Andy Farrell will take over from Joe Schmidt as head coach after the tournament in Japan and the composition of his coaching team has not been confirmed.

Lancaster had Farrell as his defence coach when he was in charge of England and there have been rumours Lancaster was being sought as an attack coach.

Last week the 49-year-old signed a two-year new contract with Leinster as a senior coach, under the charge of head coach Leo Cullen, who is also being retained.

There had been much speculation over the future of Lancaster after what has been seen as his key role invigorating what had become a sleeping giant of European Rugby.

Lancaster’s time at Leinster has also seen him redeem his standing in the game after he oversaw England’s disastrous pool exit from the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

In the wake of his new Leinster deal, Lancaster says there are no plans to work with Ireland also.

“I don’t see how I can be when I’m fully contracted to Leinster,” he said.

“There were alternatives presented. To be honest, I only ever really wanted to stay here.

“I speak to Andy all the time. I spoke to him during the Six Nations and we will catch up soon. But for me, the priority is to be a great club coach.

“I was firm in my mind that I wanted to stay here. I mean, obviously Andy has got the challenge now of building his own coaching team. I’m sure he’ll build it over the course of the next four to six months.”

Lancaster has also spoken of his confidence that there will be no hangover from Ireland’s Six Nations campaign, when the players return to club duty.

“They will be fine, it will be nice to get them back in, spend time with them and go over what lessons they have learned.

“I don’t think anyone within the team has really hit the heights that they achieved, even in ­November, but I wouldn’t be concerned long-term.

“What I have to do now is get them back into Leinster mode and get Johnny playing well for Leinster because he is such a key player for us.

“I’m confident he can do that and we can do that.”

Lancaster never lifted the Six Nations with England, finishing second in each of the four years he was in charge and he sympathised with some of the flak that Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has received in the aftermath of the 2019 campaign.

“The Six Nations is a very tough competition if you don’t win all of your games. If you lose one game, you are under pressure.

You may also like: Joe Schmidt expects Ireland to be back on top form for Rugby World Cup

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Lancaster clarifies position on Ireland as speculation continues