Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: leemingtyke (IP Logged)
Date: 12 May, 2018 19:27

A massive, MASSIVE well done to Stuart Lancaster: Redemption

And you can see what it means to him

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: John R (IP Logged)
Date: 14 May, 2018 06:13

Well said Leeming, but we always new he was good.
The powers that be at Twickenham clearly didn't appreciate his talents and dealt him a poor hand by imposing ridiculous criteria, ( like bringing in a rugby league guy from Australia to the England squad, which was a kiss of death to them.)

How they should be squirming now...............................

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: Bobba (IP Logged)
Date: 14 May, 2018 18:27

Lovely to see Lanny smiling! Super win orchestrated by Lanny. Glowing comments passed by the players and commentators. Superb tactician, reads the the game in its minutia. He had a more than good record for England, What cost him was the World Cup and the men in grey suits! It is good to see that the current England squad, including up and coming players are part of his England legacy. A hard act to follow! Well done Lanny! Hopefully shuts the crisp muncher up for good!

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: JDH (IP Logged)
Date: 15 May, 2018 09:04

They absolutely love him. Gives the players fine details to improve

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: North needs success (IP Logged)
Date: 22 May, 2018 09:40

Should never have been sacked by England. The blazer brigade will get all they deserve.

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: JDH (IP Logged)
Date: 29 May, 2018 21:02

Superb Lancaster interview in the times. Pasted below. Top bloke.

Stuart Lancaster interview: ‘After World Cup defeat I heard my daughter crying, I was powerless’

Stuart Lancaster reveals the impact England’s World Cup failure had on his family

Matthew Syed

May 28 2018, 6:00pm, The Times

Lancaster was heavily criticised following England’s 2015 World Cup failureTIMES PHOTOGRAPHER BRADLEY ORMESHER

It is 10.30pm on October 3, 2015. The home dressing room at Twickenham is empty. The players and staff have left for the team hotel at Pennyhill Park. The room is dimly lit, shadows dancing against the wall. Bits of tape are strewn across the floor, the debris of a match that finished hours ago. Alone, lying on a bench, is Stuart Lancaster, eyes staring at the ceiling.

The evening has been a blur. It was obvious that England would be eliminated from the World Cup at the pool stage against Australia when Owen Farrell was sent to the sin-bin ten minutes before the end. Lancaster, the head coach, the man who had spent a lifetime dreaming of this opportunity, tried to retain his composure from his position in the stands as the clock ticked down.

After the match, he conducted a press conference, fielded questions about his future, aware of the condemnation likely to follow. Guilt and crushing disappointment were at the forefront of his mind, but also he felt concern for his family. When he finally got to his phone he rang Nina, his wife, who had attended the match with Sophie, his daughter, and his parents to check if they were OK. They were in the car, travelling home, and he could hear his little girl quietly weeping. His heart almost froze.

I am sitting with Lancaster in a hotel in Leeds. He is wearing a blue shirt and jeans, his eyes looking into the middle distance. “She is such a strong girl — she was 15 at the time — but I could hear her crying in the car going home,” he says. “The family knew how much this meant to me, how much it meant to the country. Dan [his son] was back in Leeds that night, because he had a rugby game the following day, but I knew he would be feeling it too. I just wanted to protect them from it, but I felt powerless. I knew they would be wounded by what was coming. I said to Nina, ‘Please just look after the kids.’ ”

It is difficult to convey what it is like to be caught in the headlights of national vilification. Perhaps vilification is too strong a word, but Lancaster endured a torrid press. His coaching was questioned, his methods mocked. Senior RFU officials started briefing against the man who was still, officially, their head coach, hoping to ensure the fallout from the World Cup crystallised around just one man.

“I went back to Leeds after the final match against Uruguay [the last pool game, effectively a dead rubber, which England won easily], then went to Cumbria,” he says. “There is something about wanting to get back to your roots. I went back to my school, St Bees, on the west coast. I just wanted to go to a place where I knew I was happy. I walked around the grounds. My parents had taken the caravan to a site in Lorton. I was in this tiny caravan on my own for two nights. My mum said something that stuck with me: ‘I know you are 45, but I just want to defend you from the attacks.’ I said, ‘Mum, it’s fine.’ But I could see the pain I was causing them. They were in their mid-seventies. It was awful for them to see me getting spoken about like that. That was weighing on my mind as the review was taking place.

“There is a little pub called The Wheatsheaf. I went in there and had a few pints, started to get my head clear about what had happened under my watch. What could I have done better? My wife is different to me, she likes to share when problems hit her. I like to spend time on my own, taking notes, going for walks, thinking things through, and this gave me the space. I walked up St Bees Head and I am literally in the middle of nowhere, walking towards this lighthouse, when this guy goes, ‘Are you Stuart Lancaster?’ ‘Yeah, I am, funnily enough.’ He said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ I smiled. ‘I know,’ I said. ‘I’m sorry, too.’ ” Lancaster is very different from his headmasterly image. He is warm, kind, spirited. I talked to former players, staff and fellow coaches to get a sense of how he is perceived by those who know him best. Words like “honourable”, “considerate” and “generous” were common. Danny Cipriani, who Lancaster didn’t select for the World Cup in 2015, said: “You will not meet a more decent man.”

The other perspective that unifies opinion is that Lancaster is a superb coach. He is now a senior coach at Leinster and helped to lead them to the European Champions Cup this month, the most prized trophy in club rugby, and on Saturday overcame Scarlets, the defending champions, in a thrilling Guinness Pro14 final. Players and staff have spoken almost unanimously about the powerful impact of Lancaster’s coaching. Johnny Sexton, the Leinster and Ireland fly half, said: “He did an unbelievable job at England that gets overlooked because of one result. A result that could have gone another way against Wales [in the World Cup]. But things work out for a reason and we might not have been European champions if England had not lost that match.”

The RFU review process after England’s elimination reached its conclusion in November 2015. “I knew that the board meeting was the night before, so I dropped Sophie and Dan at school and sought out the deputy head,” Lancaster says. “I asked him to keep an eye on them because the news was due to break at lunchtime. Before I left the house, Nina asked, ‘Do you think they will ask you to leave the RFU completely?’ I doubted that I would keep the top job, but I was confident that I could perform a different role for England. I said to Nina, ‘I don’t think so.’

“As I walked out of the school, Ian Ritchie [then the chief executive of the RFU] phoned. ‘You need to step down as England coach and leave the RFU completely,’ he said. It was a huge blow.”

Lancaster was unemployed, with the RFU committed only to paying up his notice period of 12 months. “It was tough dealing with the fallout and waking up without a sense of purpose,” he said. “You are so busy as head coach; your mind is caught up. I threw myself into coaching in the community around Yorkshire in the schools and clubs. I did sessions at Harrogate and Morley. I took the Yorkshire Under-15s for that season. It was the best thing I did, and it was great to be asked. Remember that is where I had come from. I have coached at every level, from under-6 upwards.”

All this, and more, Lancaster did for no charge. He gave talks to Britain’s chief constables, to teachers, to fellow coaches. In January 2016, he went on a tour to the southern hemisphere, visiting 15 organisations as he sought to learn more about coaching and leadership. But these trips cost money, and financial reality was starting to bite.

Lancaster had the option of returning to teaching PE, his first job after leaving university, but he craved a job in coaching, a role that had become his raison d’ętre. “In the summer of 2016, I said to Nina, ‘If I don’t get work soon, we are going to have to take the kids out of school and move to a smaller house.’ There was no doubt in my mind. The money would have run out by Christmas. You are constantly thinking, ‘What is the best thing to do for my family?’ ”

I ask whether Lancaster feels he made mistakes in the England job. He doesn’t shy away from critiquing himself. “I could have achieved a better balance,” he says. “I should have delegated more of the managerial stuff, like club-country relationships, commercial events, logistical planning. If I become a head coach in the future, I would hire a general manager to do some of that, so I could focus more on the coaching. I should also have gone with a smaller squad in the warm-up camps. When you announce a big squad, nobody knows if they are going to make the final cut. It can feel for a while like a selection camp rather than a performance camp. I made this point to Gareth Southgate, and he took the advice on board for the England football squad.”

I ask about the Sam Burgess affair. “There are a lot of misconceptions about Sam,” he says. “I went to Australia in 2013 on a coach educational trip and I met Michael Maguire from the South Sydney Rabbitohs. As I was walking out of the office, Sam came over and said that he was interested in joining rugby union. The perception was that I had gone to get him, or that Andy Farrell had recruited him. But he came to me. And the truth is that in the warm-up games and the World Cup camp, he played well. Clearly with hindsight if I had known that he was going to go back to rugby league, I wouldn’t have picked him.”

Given everything that happened, I wonder if Lancaster would ever go back to the RFU? He pauses. “I really enjoy club coaching, but you never say never,” he says. “There are people at the RFU who sometimes get in contact, and I will always offer support and advice when asked. There are many good people there.”

Lancaster’s growing anxiety as summer turned into autumn in 2016 was finally relieved by a phone call in early September. “It was Leo Cullen, the head coach at Leinster,” he says. “The defence coach’s sister had taken ill, which opened up a window. When I worked out that the commute from Leeds to Dublin was a 40-minute flight, I knew it was the right job. Johnny Sexton sent me a text saying that the players wanted me. It was a huge relief.

“But I had to hit the ground running. I arrived on the Monday and the second game was on the Friday. So, I stood in front of the group and just said, ‘I think we can win the European Cup.’ And they looked at me as if to say, ‘Really?’ But I knew we had to change stuff. I had clipped up a losing performance in a cup match. I was pretty critical as I reviewed it. ‘What were you doing here?’ I asked. They were taken aback by my mindset to come straight in and lead, but I was ready for the opportunity and I wasn’t going to let it go. By ten past nine on the first day, I was coaching.

“And there was no stopping us. We started developing the defence, then the attack. I was also trying to improve the leadership skills of the group. I did sessions with the academy players, and coached the coaches. I threw myself into it, living in Dublin, and coming back to Leeds for one day a week. That has been tough. Living away from home, missing Sophie getting her GCSEs, missing her driving test, missing Dan’s big rugby games. The commitment is huge, and it is tough for Nina to bring up two teenage kids on her own. But it was the only way to make it work.

A proud Lancaster shows off the Champions Cup trophy with his son Dan and wife Nina in BilbaoDAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES

“There have been some incredible moments. When I arrived at Leinster, the first game we played was Ospreys at home. When we got into the changing room after the game, Cian Healy stood up and said: ‘OK sing a song. Everyone has to sing a song after their first game.’ So I took my tracksuit top off and belted out Daydream Believer . . . It felt like I was where I was meant to be. With players, helping them improve, building a great team.”

Looking back on his journey, Lancaster has learnt not just about his own character, but the character of the sport he loves. “Even in the darkest hours, there were people who rallied around,” he says. “The week we were eliminated from the World Cup, I had a note from Heyneke Meyer, the South Africa coach who had been involved in the defeat to Japan [in the same competition]. He was going through exactly the same thing. ‘I hope you are OK,’ he asked. It was an incredibly thoughtful gesture.

“I had a good relationship with all the international coaches, because we all know the precipice we sit on. Moments after New Zealand won the World Cup final I sent a text to Steve Hansen to congratulate him. Forty minutes after the final whistle, when he must have been inundated, he replied. ‘Thanks Stuart,’ he said. ‘Hope the family are OK. I am thinking of you.’ That camaraderie is somehow deeper and more important than the rivalry. That is what rugby is about.”

When Leinster won the European Cup, senior players saluted Lancaster, but so did some of his former players with England. “It was so moving to get texts from virtually every member of the management team from 2015, the physios, the masseurs, the analysts, the coaches, the players.” The most powerful moment, however, was witnessing the joy of his loved ones. “I felt this deep happiness for my mum and dad. For Nina and the kids. Nina was there at the match with Dan, and they came down to get a photo with the trophy.

“I Facetimed Sophie, who was at home. She was so upset after the game that knocked England out of the World Cup, and that is something I will never forget. As I was walking down on the pitch, I held up the phone, looked at her, and said, ‘We did it!’ She just said, ‘I’m so proud of you, Dad.’ ”

Lancaster gave debuts to a number of players, Farrell being one of themSHAUN BOTTERILL/GETTY IMAGES

Lancaster on key issues
How would England have done in the 2016 Six Nations if you had not left the job? 
“The context and results would have been very different if I had stayed. Every decision would have been scrutinised, and it would have been difficult for the players. Eddie Jones brought in new energy.”

Is drug-taking a problem in youth rugby? 
“Young players need to know that it is not just about size, but speed and agility. The best players at Leinster, such as Cian Healy, have actually lost weight this year. My son is 16 and in an academy. They attend anti-doping seminars all the time. I don’t think drugs are prevalent in English rugby.”

What are your reflections on the crowd at Twickenham? 
“The energy at Twickenham was incredible. In some of the games, I have never been in stadiums like it. The France game in 2015, New Zealand in 2012. On their day, they’re the best.”

What did you feel when England went on an unbeaten run after your sacking? 
“I felt incredibly proud of the team. The best moment for a coach is awarding a player their first cap. I awarded first caps to three-quarters of that group, players like Jack Nowell and Owen Farrell.”

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: almostatyke (IP Logged)
Date: 29 May, 2018 21:49

Brilliant! Thanks for posting that JDH.

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: Wildwillie (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2018 07:38

What next for Lanny? I would have him back tomorrow!


Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: opuscoitus (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2018 09:00

Thanks for posting, very interesting read and genuinely chuffed for Lancaster who is a decent honest hard working guy,

Think a lot of people forget the mess he inherited after MJ, and Rfu didn't want to splash the cash on a high profile coach, he did a great job and he inherited the group of death in 2015,

Think with the Wendyball mentality of head coaches leaving in premiership it won't be long before one comes knocking, would have thought Blackadder at Bath needs a strong start,

Wouldn't say no to him at YC though

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: almostatyke (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2018 11:17

I might be going against the grain of this thread (barrage balloons erected), but.... perhaps Lanny is best in a back-room coaching role, with someone else fronting up to the players and media (i.e. as his current position)?

Brilliant coach, great honest guy but IMHO was unable to motivate his team in the really important matches.

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: JDH (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2018 15:10

I think he spread himself too thin.

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: leemingtyke (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2018 16:07

I might be going against the grain of this thread (barrage balloons erected), but.... perhaps Lanny is best in a back-room coaching role, with someone else fronting up to the players and media (i.e. as his current position)?
Brilliant coach, great honest guy but IMHO was unable to motivate his team in the really important matches.

I'd agree with that Almo.

Towards the end of the England job I thought he was looking a little bit out of his depth.

The abuse he got from certain quarters was massively out of order though, ridiculing him personally as well as professionally, everything from his background to his personality and his coaching methods.

The excellent article posted by JDH above shows the effect that had on him and his family. His results with Leinster show that the attacks on his coaching methods were made by people who didn't have a clue what they were talking about.

I met him once at the Eccup 10 not long after he'd got back from a summer tour to Argentina. It was scorching hot and he'd not long finished running but he was relaxed and happy to chat to a complete stranger about Rugby.

He asked me what I thought about the Argentina tour and which players had impressed me. Imagine that, the England coach asking me what I thought and was genuinely interested in what I said! He also chatted to my son about his team and his position.

He was just a lovely, down to earth bloke and I'm chuffed to bits that he's back on the up and proving a lot of social media and keyboard warrior gobsh1tes wrong.

You can't keep a good bloke down.

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: opuscoitus (IP Logged)
Date: 31 May, 2018 09:31

Can only agree his current position is best for him and what he excels at,

Won't stop him being headhunted or being bookies favourite for every position that comes up, whether he wants them or not,

There's a role that will undoubtedly turn someone's head,

Top guy top bloke deserves to be happy and content and successful in whatever role that will be

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: Wildwillie (IP Logged)
Date: 31 May, 2018 11:48

His son Dan is in our academy (plays at 10) IIRC

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: Bobba (IP Logged)
Date: 01 June, 2018 16:09

Thanks JDH. Finished reading with a lump in my throat!

There are some of us at Headingley that remember the meticulous planning and brainstorming that went on. We supporters were not excluded. Lanny knew that there could be some good ideas that can come from the terraces. I remember the "forums", with all supporters invited, sat ten or so to a table, along with players, with large sheets of paper that were provided for any ideas, recommendations..., These were not discarded but were used by Lanny in his planning, presentations and coaching. He was always willing to talk to supporters and often asked "what do you think?" Unlike the current "forum" regime where matters on the pitch were taboo, Lanny wanted to hear what the supporters thought, he would explain his decisions, the reasoning behind them, the way forward. When it came to rugby union nothing was taboo with him.

So very pleased he has the success now that he deserves. I suspect when Eddie leaves the England job, there will be those at the RFU looking to see if he is available. As WW has said, I'd have him back tomorrow!

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: Wildwillie (IP Logged)
Date: 09 June, 2018 19:22

Whoa! Another defeat for England in South Africa today making "Saint Eddie" look a bit more mortal. How many defeats on the trot for England?

Re: Stuart Lancaster - Redemption
Posted by: Madtyke (IP Logged)
Date: 09 June, 2018 23:58

Well he's certainly getting more chances than STU Lancaster got.


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