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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

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Former St Bees pupil Lancaster is backed by his players for England post

CUMBRIAN Stuart Lancaster has already done enough to prove he’s the man to lead England into their home World Cup in 2015, according to Red Rose flanker Tom Croft.

Croft has 33 caps to his name but was among the few senior players to survive the Lancaster cull after a disastrous World Cup in New Zealand and he’s been impressed by the way his new boss, the current interim head coach, who studied at St Bees School, has steadied the ship.

Under Lancaster’s stewardship, England have ground out two wins out of two in the 2012 Six Nations but he is far from guaranteed the job on a long-term basis.

Interested applicants had until last Wednesday to apply for the role and while Lancaster confirmed he has done so, ex-Italy and South Africa coach Nick Mallett, former Ireland boss Eddie O’Sullivan and recent Japan coach John Kirwan have all reportedly followed suit.

But while Lancaster’s international coaching experience is limited to two matches, Croft is full of praise for his new-look England, insisting the former Leeds director of rugby has not put a foot wrong.

“There would be no compl-aints at all if Stuart was handed the job on a perman-ent basis – far from it,” said Croft. “He has two wins from two so far and has built up a great atmosphere in and aro-und the squad already, so you can’t really ask for more.

“Obviously the powers that be at the top will decide who ultimately comes on in a permanent basis but it would be far from a disaster if they gave him the job. And you can see with what has been happening that what Stuart has been doing is working.”

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