Lancaster the favourite as RFU commence interviews

After the most public of auditions, Stuart Lancaster will be interviewed by the RFU today for the full-time position of England head coach.

Lancaster, 42, took charge on an interim basis in the wake of England’s disastrous World Cup and his performance has received ringing endorsements from all corners of Twickenham.

England finished second in the RBS 6 Nations championship and left the stadium after Saturday’s thumping 30-9 victory over Ireland to a standing ovation from the 82,000 crowd.

It was a long way from the scenes at Heathrow Airport in October, when England arrived with their reputation, according to forwards coach Graham Rowntree, in the “gutter” following the World Cup.

England captain Chris Robshaw has endorsed Lancaster’s bid to keep the job on a permanent basis and Rowntree described his achievements in the interim role as the “perfect interview”.

But the one man Lancaster must convince is Ian Ritchie, the RFU’s chief executive whose recruitment process appeared to be aimed at bringing in an experienced head coach to lead England into the 2015 World Cup.

Nick Mallett, the former South Africa and Italy coach who was first contacted by the RFU in December, is thought to be another leading contender and will also reportedly be interviewed this week.

John Kirwan, who coached Italy and Japan at three World Cups, was told he would not get an interview because he had no experience with a nation ranked in the world’s top eight.


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