With Stuart Lancaster having step down from the England head coach role by mutual consent, who is in the frame to take over the position? Here is a run down of the potential candidates.
The South African was in the frame last time this position became available and also when the job went to Brian Ashton so could this be third time lucky? He has extensive international management experience with the Springboks (1997-2000) leading them to a record 17 consecutive test wins and more recently with Italy (2007-2011). Additionally, he has coached Stade Francais(2002-2004) where they won consecutive league titles. He has a proven track record and could be the man that the RFU are after.
An extensive coaching career since switching codes to join the Wasps backroom team in 2001. He ended up in the top job in 2005 after Warren Gatland moved back to New Zealand. In his time at Wasps they won three Premiership Titles and two Heineken Cups. In 2011 he joined the Welsh national coaching setup in a move which left Matt Dawson saying that is was a “crime” that England lost him to Wales. He is currently negotiating a new contract with Wales, so the timing could be perfect for him to take over.
The 58 year old nicknamed ‘The Professor’ for his coaching nous is known for being one of the most astute and knowledgeable coaches in the game. He has a list of coaching experience that almost all coaches are enviable of; The Crusaders (1997-1999), New Zealand (1999-2001), Northampton Saints (2001-2004), New Zealand (2004-2012), The Chiefs (2012-2015) and New Zealand (2015-Current). He has recently stated that he wants to take a sabbatical from rugby. But who knows this job might be too tempting to ignore.
The old sparring partner of Sir Clive Woodward, his experience at the highest level is without comparison. He led his native Australia to within one kick of winning the rugby world cup in 2003. He was the technical consultant to Jake White’s South Africa in 2007 as they went on to win the world cup and in his recent role with Japan he led them to three victories in the 2015 rugby world cup, where they also became the first tier 2 nation to beat one of the southern hemisphere giants. He has previously indicated that he would listen to an approach for the England role.
IRB international coach of the year in 2004 and 2007 he led the Springboks to world cup glory in 2007. He also created the most successful home South Africa team in history with 13 consecutive wins. As recently as October he has stated an interest in the England head coach role.
Sir Clive Woodward
He has gone down in folklore of English rugby as the man who masterminded the rise of the national side to number one in the world and having created a team that beat New Zealand in their own back yard as well as winning the rugby world cup for England in 2003. A man with a meticulous approach who recently was in the frame for the French head coach role. Could this be the time for him to come back into the England set up and recreate the glory days of over a decade ago?