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Son of Stuart Lancaster set to sign for Racing 92

By Jon Newcombe
EALING, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Stuart Lancaster, former Head of England rugby poses with his son, Dan Lancaster after the Premiership Rugby Cup match between Ealing Trailfinders and Leicester Tigers at Trailfinders Sports Ground on February 18, 2024 in Ealing, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Stuart Lancaster’s remodelling of the Racing 92 squad is set to include two familiar faces with his son, Dan Lancaster, and Sale Sharks legend Sam James, close to finalising a move to the Top 14 club.

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Lancaster and James will join former England captain Owen Farrell in heading to the Paris La Défense Arena this summer, pending a medical.

Given time, the English trio could line up at 10, 12 and 13, as 23-year-old Lancaster has been identified as an inside-centre, having played his England U20s rugby there, although he can also play fly-half.

He came through the same Yorkshire academy pathway as recent England call-up, Joe Carpenter, before moving to Leicester and then Ealing Trailfinders.

With Racing 92 legend Henry Chavancy still having another year on his contract to run and Josua Tuisova keen to prove his worth next season after an injury-hit campaign, that drew stinging criticism this week from club owner, Jacky Lorenzetti, Lancaster will have to be patient for his opportunities.

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Sam James, meanwhile, will arrive at Racing 92, all being well, after a glorious career at Sale.

The versatile back, who is equally at home in the centres, or at fly-half and full-back, made nearly 250 appearances for his hometown club and had a string of different offers on the table.

Two weeks ago, we reported in Fissler Confidential, that a move to Japan was on the cards. But the chance to play under Lancaster and alongside the likes of Farrell obviously was a big draw for the soon-to-be 30-year-old James.

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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