Keep Lancaster, urges Rowntree

ENGLAND scrum coach Graham Rowntree has strongly urged the Rugby Football Union to hand interim head coach Stuart Lancaster the job on a permanent basis.

Lancaster, who took over with the national set-up in crisis following a disastrous World Cup and a series of damaging leaks, faces competition from former Italy and South Africa boss Nick Mallett.

Rowntree, the sole coach to survive from Martin Johnson’s previous regime, said: “Stuart has dragged us out of the gutter. I don’t want anything to change. You can’t argue with what he’s done, performance-wise and culturally with this group.”

Lancaster led England to four wins from five in the Six Nations, which concluded on Saturday, and Rowntree called the environment “the best I’ve known – better than the Lions because of the place we were in beforehand.”