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Lancaster will 'trust the process' for coaching job

Stuart Lancaster : Has he done enough ?

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Article Published: Monday 19 March 2012

Stuart Lancaster says that he will "trust the process" as his main rival to become England's new permanent coach Nick Mallett all but gave up on succeeding Martin Johnson on a full-time basis.

Lancaster, appointed caretaker boss for the duration of the Six Nations following Johnson's post World Cup resignation, saw a youthful England side round off the tournament with a 30-9 thrashing of Ireland here at Twickenham.

Saturday's victory meant England, who'd gone into this Six Nations as the defending champions, finished second behind Grand Slam winners Wales, who beat them 19-12 at Twickenham last month.

Former Springbok and Italy coach Mallett all but conceded the job to Lancaster when, shortly after full-time, he told South African television station Supersport: "You can't see the RFU (England's Rugby Football Union) wanting to change a coach when you look at the team and how happy they are."

Meanwhile a delighted Lancaster, speaking after England's first Six Nations win over Ireland since 2008, said: "Obviously it's been a great journey.

"I've known all along the timelines. I've just got to trust in the process, I've been on the other side of the fence interviewing people and I understand what people need to do.

"I've got no problems with that. I will just enjoy the moment," added Lancaster, formerly coach of England's reserve Saxons.

Following the disappointment of England's World Cup campaign, where they lost in the quarter-finals, Lancaster was faced with trying to restore the squad's self-respect after several embarrassing off-field incidents in New Zealand, build for the 2015 World Cup on home soil and fashion a winning team.

Most observers agree he has succeeded on all three fronts - nine players made their England debuts this Six Nations and the only off-field drama saw Lancaster axe scrum-half Danny Care for drink driving before the tournament.

Now the RFU will have to come up with quite an explanation if they decide against appointing Lancaster, who said much of the current side's success stemmed from the pre-tournament training camp he's held in his home town of Leeds, northern England.

"When you think the team came together eight weeks ago at a Yorkshire Two club in Leeds and to put in that performance against an Ireland side that has been together a long time and are clearly well-coached, I'm delighted for the players, the management and the supporters," said Lancaster, who opted against taking the squad to the exclusive resort in Portugal favoured by Johnson.

"The week in Leeds was about getting a sense of team and why we were all going to work hard for each other," explained Lancaster, now in pole position to lead England on their June tour of South Africa.

"By the end of that week the message had got through and we knew we were on the journey to becoming a united team."

Last month, England made a winning start to life under Lancaster by beating Scotland 13-6 at Murrayfield - a ground where they hadn't won since 2004 - in a match where flanker Chris Robshaw, who'd just one cap behind him, skippered his country for the first time.

"One of the key moments in the campaign was the win in Scotland," recalled Lancaster. "We'd not won in Scotland for a long time and to go up there and win fuelled our belief."

Reflecting on England's tournament as a whole, Lancaster, who paid tribute to assistant coaches Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell, father of England fly-half Owen, said: "It's probably exceeded most people's expectations but I think we've always known we've had a good group of players and we've always believed in our ability to get the best out of them."

Lancaster was delighted by the "scrummaging-fest" England, only 9-6 up at half-time, laid on as they pulverised the Ireland pack to the extent they scored a 57th minute penalty try from the set-piece.

Replacement scrum-half Ben Youngs added a second try late on in a match where Farrell, one of the players given their Test debut by Lancaster, kicked the same number of points - 20 - as his age.

Lancaster was pleased by the maturity his side, who ran in three tries in last weekend's 24-22 win away to France in Paris, showed in adapting to the wet conditions facing them on Saturday and ground Ireland down.

"Any team has been able to win in different conditions but also a team has to learn and improve.

"To play in different styles, it's got to be a requirement to be one of the best teams and that's what we're striving to be, one of the best teams," said Lancaster.

"We're making steps along that way."

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