Lancaster named England coach

Stuart Lancaster has beaten Nick Mallett to the England post.

The Rugby Football Union board met on Thursday morning to ratify the decision. Mallett, the former Springbok and Italy coach, was told on Wednesday morning that his application was unsuccessful.

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie put forward Lancaster’s name to the board for final approval. Lancaster and Mallett were interviewed last Thursday, but it is thought Lancaster’s all-round performance in the Six Nations (England won four of five matches) swayed the decision his way.

‘I am immensely honoured and proud to accept this role,’ said Lancaster, who will hold the position until after the 2015 World Cup. ‘We have a massive task ahead of us in South Africa and we have 37 games before that first World Cup match on home soil, so every second counts in developing players who can win that tournament – which has to be the ultimate aim.’

Forwards coach Graham Rowntree is expected to remain part of Lancaster’s team but it is not known whether Andy Farrell will be released by his club, Saracens.

According to the BBC website, the players all backed the decision to retain Lancaster after the Six Nations.

‘We spoke to him at the end [of the Six Nations] and I think he was absolutely exhausted because he left no stone unturned in terms of creating an environment and an atmosphere that was akin to a club,’ said loose forward Phil Dowson.

England will play South Africa in the first of three Tests in Durban on 9 June. The subsequent matches will be played in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.