England to stick with Catt

Mike Catt looks set for a permanent position with England. [more]

England to stick with Catt

Mike Catt looks set for a permanent position with England.

The 2003 World Cup winner served his country in a temporary role on the summer tour of South Africa after New Zealander Wayne Smith turned down the chance to work alongside Stuart Lancaster.

Andy Farrell’s U-turn to choose country before club and leave Saracens for England seemed to lessen Catt’s hopes of a full-time post with the RFU but Lancaster now appears ready to extend his three-man coaching team.

The England boss insists his players were impressed with Catt’s efforts against the Springboks and he intends to offer him a long-term contract next week.

"I am meeting him next week and looking forward to having a good chat with him about a future skills role," said Lancaster.

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"It isn't confirmed yet, but I am hopeful that it will progress soon and we can get that organised for November.

"The players enjoyed working with him and he helped them in lots of little ways and with lots of little skill sessions around the wider rugby sessions."

Lancaster had initially suggested that he saw no reason to enlarge the three-man team he employed during his time in interim charge for the Six Nations, with Farrell and Graham Rowntree his preferred choices for backs and forwards coach respectively.

Farrell’s initial decision to stay with Sarries led Lancaster to approach Smith but when Farrell returned to the fold it was thought England would be back where they wanted to be and that Catt could be forced to look for a new club role following the end of his contract with London Irish.

But Lancaster, who has led England to wins over Scotland, Italy, France and Ireland and a draw with South Africa in his first few months in charge, has now had a change of heart and announced that he feels the team will benefit from having another pair of hands onboard.

"I have always been of the mindset that I don't want to leave myself too stretched," added Lancaster.

"The England job itself is a big stretch in terms of the breadth of things that I have to cover.

"I want to make sure that I give the players the best support to make them the best that they can be. Whilst I will still clearly have an involvement with the coaching in terms of the overall direction, and I'm definitely not going to give up my whistle and my tracksuit, to have people that can give specialist support, feedback and coaching will be good for me and I think he can offer that."

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