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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Boss Stuart Lancaster wants England RU in world top two

England Cumbrian head coach Stuart Lancaster has challenged his Red Rose stars to secure a top two place in the world rankings by the end of next year.

Stuart Lancaster photo
Stuart Lancaster

Lancaster’s side are currently fourth in the world and will use their ranking position as a key indicator of his side’s development as they build towards the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil.

The Cumbrian’s ambitious target means England will not only have to dominate next year’s Six Nations but also upset the southern hemisphere’s finest in the autumn internationals.

The fruits of their early labours will be on show in November with a match against Fiji, before encounters against the world’s top three teams – Australia, South Africa and New Zealand – on successive weekends.

Lancaster said: “Our overall aim and objective is to be ranked in the top two, two years out from the World Cup.

“I think that is a realistic goal and that is what we are trying to achieve.

“The driver for us will be purely performance. We want to perform well, get the selection right and get the detail right. I will be very surprised if the side we pick at the start of the autumn internationals will be the side we pick at the end.

“Over in South Africa we used 30 players in three Tests in the space of three weeks because of injury and whatever and it will be the same in a World Cup where you are going to change your side during the tournament.

“You could argue that Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand is a tough test like a World Cup where you have to go quarter-final, semi-final, final and win, win, win against what is going to be a top side.”

Lancaster revealed Mike Catt is on course to be named in his management team in the next few days.

Catt was not at England’s pre-season camp which ended on Wednesday, but Lancaster has revealed he is hoping to finalise a long-term deal for the 2003 World Cup winner.

Catt will work alongside forwards coach Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell, who is back with England after having second thoughts about extending his contract with Saracens.

“I’m hopeful things will progress soon. The players enjoyed working with him and he helped them in lots of little ways.

“I want to make sure I give the players the best support possible to be as good as they can be.”

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