England go for Lancaster
Former Leeds boss preferred to Mallett
Last Updated: 29/03/12 12:17pm
Stuart Lancaster: Set to be confirmed as England's new head coach
Stuart Lancaster has been confirmed as England's new head coach on a permanent basis after impressing during his interim reign.
The former Leeds boss guided England to away wins over Scotland, Italy and France and a convincing 30-9 home victory over Ireland, while Grand Slam champions Wales were given a fright at Twickenham.
That saw the support for Lancaster's cause swell, with the former teacher having restored the reputation of the side that was so badly damaged at the World Cup.
However, Lancaster still had to beat off strong competition from former Italy and South Africa boss Nick Mallett for the role - while World Cup-winner Jake White was also in the frame.
Ian Ritchie, the RFU's new chief executive, oversaw the recruitment process - with an advisory panel comprising of Conor O'Shea and Sir Ian McGeechan - the Harlequins and Bath directors of rugby respectively - the RFU's professional rugby director Rob Andrew and former England flanker Richard Hill.
Lancaster's appointment was ratified by the RFU board on Wednesday and he will now lead England to the World Cup in 2015.
Having replaced Martin Johnson, who stepped down following the tournament in New Zealand, on an interim basis, Lancaster made an immediate impact by instilling a new culture to the team and opting to hand a number of talented young players their chance.
Lancaster, who was promoted after taking charge of the Saxons, was also keen to bring a more attack-minded approach to the side - and having ground out tough away wins against Scotland and Italy, they began to get into their stride throughout the rest of the tournament.
Lancaster's first job will be to confirm his coaching team - with Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell having worked alongside him during the Six Nations.
Keeping hold of Rowntree, who was part of the set-up under Johnson, shouldn't be an issue - however Farrell was only loaned to England by Saracens.
The former cross-code international still has two years left to run on his contract as head coach at the defending Premiership champions.
That would mean the RFU would have to come to an agreement with Saracens to buy him out of the remainder of his deal.