England seek balance

New England interim boss Stuart Lancaster will seek to blend youth with experience this spring. [more]

England seek balance

New England interim boss Stuart Lancaster will seek to blend youth with experience this spring.

Lancaster has been handed the reigns for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations campaign as England look to put the fallout from the World Cup behind them.

The ex-Leeds director of rugby has been working with England’s second-string Saxons since May 2008 and is hugely experienced in bringing young players to the fore.

Lancaster will have no problem giving youth a chance during his time in charge of the senior side but he admits it won’t simply be a case of out with the old and in with the new when England take on Scotland on February 4.

“I’ve never been worried about picking young players but, equally, I’m not going to send an under-21 side to Scotland for the opening game,” Lancaster told the Daily Telegraph.

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“I appreciate the responsibility of being head coach. It’s different from the Saxons, night and day, in fact. Results very much do matter.

“It’s about balance but also about being bold and trusting players no matter what their age. They’ve got to be given their head if we think they’re ready.”

Much has been made of the off-field antics during the recent global gathering in New Zealand, with the press and public alike questioning the attitudes of the country’s top talent.

The leaked report into the World Cup campaign suggested even the players themselves were questioning their team-mates’ focus and application Down Under.

It is an issue not lost on Lancaster who has made it clear that he intends to put new ground rules in place and ensure pride in the jersey is at the forefront of the future of England Rugby.

“We’ll be reminding players what a privilege it is to play for England,” added Lancaster, who will hold a five-day training camp prior to the 6 Nations.

“There will be addresses from those who’ve represented their countries in different sports as well as from those who have fought for their country.

“You can’t ignore what was revealed (in the leaked report) but nor should you pore over it forensically. There’s no point either in blaming media distortion. It’s important to be honest and then positive.

“I don’t believe there were serious rifts there. We now need a new framework and for us all to set and buy into new standards and codes of behaviour.”

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