Rugby: Lancaster to pilot England for Cup

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England are to put their preparations for the Calcutta Cup match at Murrayfield, which launches this season’s RBS Six Nations Championship, in the hands of a former Scotland Under-21 and Students internationalist.

Stuart Lancaster, a former flanker who grew up in Cumbria of Caledonian ancestry, has been appointed coach on a caretaker business following the resignation of Martin Johnson and will be assisted by existing forwards’ coach Graham Rowntree.

Lancaster is currently an elite performance coach at Twickenham.

As a player he was capped by Scotland at age-group level out of Wakefield and also played for Leeds, where he gained an outstanding reputation as a rugby thinker.

Among those who played alongside Lancaster in dark blue and went on to gain full caps were Gregor Townsend – who will be Scotland’s attack coach on February 4 – Rowen Shepherd, Stuart Campbell, Bryan Redpath and Andy Nicol, who said today: “I remember Stuart as a good player but it is fair to say I remember him more as an age-group coach with England.”

By appointing Lancaster and Rowntree, England appear to be buying time and plotting the way ahead carefully.