Back in 2014 a full year before the World Cup and under no pressure to do so, the RFU extended the contracts for Stuart Lancaster and his coaching team by 6 years to 2020.
Stuart Lancaster’s extended contract as the England head coach will remain a sound decision even if his side underachieve at next year’s Rugby World Cup, according to Ian Ritchie, the Rugby Football Union’s chief executive.
“We’re looking at sustainable success in the longer term and we believe that’s what this contract does,” Ritchie said.
We all know how that worked out for everybody don’t we?
Eddie Jones has been (very successfully) in place for less than a year and he is contracted until after the 2019 World Cup.
England rugby for the first time since 2003 seems to be in a good place – although, again under no pressure, Ian Ritchie is determined to keep saying things before he thinks.
First he has stated that discussions with Eddie Jones about post 2019 have been started – I guess that’s okay, I’m all for succession planning, although it seems a bit premature to me.
However, in almost the same breath he said
English coaches must gain international experience if they are to replace Eddie Jones as England coach, says Rugby Football Union boss Ian Ritchie.
“If we want to see an objective of an English coach, then they have to go out and get some international experience,”
If this is what he believes it is a bit of a puzzle as to why he appointed Stuart Lancaster in the first place – unless he considers looking after the Saxons for a couple of Churchill Cups a decent amount of ‘international experience’.
Ritchie has, at a stroke, alienated just about every English coach in the Premiership – many of whom understandably, have ambitions to coach England –
What he hasn’t explained (to anyone as far as I can work out) is what he means by elite international experience – a national side? Super Rugby? Top 14 or Pro 12? If it’s anything other than a national team – why does he consider the other leagues more superior than the Premiership?
If he means the next coach has to have international experience with a national team these are the current English candidates in order of ‘experience’ based on the new RFU criteria –
Andy Farrell – England & Ireland
Mike Catt – England and Italy
Stuart Lancaster – England
Graham Rowntree – England
Steve Borthwick – Japan and England
Paul Gustard – England
Add in second string international experience and you get –
Ali Hepher – Saxons
Rob Baxter – England (backroom team in Argentina 2013 – Lions year)
Add Top 14 –
Bath Head Coach Mike Ford looks on during the pre-match warm-up. Amlin Challenge Cup match, between Bath Rugby and Mogliano Rugby on December 14, 2013 at the Recreation Ground in Bath, England. Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images
Alex King – Clermont
Mike Ford – Toulon
Based on the RFU criteria set out by Ian Ritchie on Tuesday the best qualified coaching team to take over in 2019 are currently the same four who were in charge at the World Cup in 2015.
Maybe the RFU didn’t take any notice of what Eddie Jones said before he took over the England job –
I’m all for Ian Ritchie giving it verbals when he’s not bowing to the bullying from the Southern Hemisphere about the ‘Global calendar’ – but I feel he should be more circumspect when he decides to wind up coaches in the Premiership.
Still, as we saw in 2015, “you know best dear”