Graham Rowntree insists England have plenty of reasons to be cheerful ahead of next year’s RBS 6 Nations.
England crashed out of the recent World Cup at the quarter-final stage and have since seen team manager Martin Johnson and coaches John Wells, Brian Smith, Mike Ford and Dave Alred leave their posts.
Their global campaign in New Zealand was dogged by off-the-field controversies that were exasperated by a leaked review in which players criticized staff and fellow players but Rowntree is confident better times lie ahead.
The former Lions prop, who toured twice as a player in 1997 and 2005 and was part of Sir Ian McGeechan’s coaching team in 2009, has formed a new-look England set up with previous Saxons coaches Stuart Lancaster and Andy Farrell.
And the Leicester legend is fully focused on the future rather than the past as he looks to put a platform in place which will see England emerge as realistic contenders of the 2015 World Cup on home soil.
“The World Cup’s done. We’ve spoken too much about that. This is a new start and I’m excited to be a part of that,” Rowntree told the BBC.
“This is more of a building process. We’re not in a World Cup now, we’re starting another journey.
“We can afford to look at some younger players and one thing we have got at the moment in this country is some great young players in most positions.”
England’s reputation has taken a battering in the weeks that have followed the World Cup but Rowntree is determined to make the country proud once more.
“I want everyone, including us the coaches and the players, to be proud of this England team again. I hate using this expression but I want us to rebuild the brand of English Rugby. I do feel a responsibility in that but I’m looking forward to it.
“I think this is the start of a great time for English Rugby. We’ll aim to provide a brand of rugby that everyone wants to watch and that the players love playing.
“I just want everyone to be excited – excited about playing and excited about watching. I want the lads to go out there, train hard, work hard and enjoy themselves. Simple. That’s what we’ll be looking to do.”