A year in the life...
The Rugby Club caught up with England coach Stuart Lancaster ahead of a tough autumn series.
Last Updated: 06/11/12 3:39pm
Rugby Club's Will Greenwood caught up with England coach Stuart Lancaster this week ahead of his side's tough set of Autumn Internationals.
England will face Fiji, Australia, South Africa and World Champions New Zealand at Twickenham, and Lancaster is setting the bar high.
"We want to win all four games," he said. "I don't subscribe to the view that we will set a target of winning three out of four - effectively you are saying that you are happy to lose one game.
"I don't buy into that. We want to build a side for 2015 but it is about hitting that balance between winning in the here and now, too.
We don't want four games at home at Twickenham with 80,000 fans turning up to cheer us up and not give our best account."
Almost a year has passed since Lancaster took the England reins following a disappointing World Cup campaign that was blighted by poor performances and off-field controversies.
"On December 8 last year I got the interim job and there was a lot that needed doing at the time," said the former high-school teacher. "We had not gone great in the World Cup and were on the front pages for the wrong reasons.
"That was the starting point to building a new England team. We had to develop a new group of leaders to take us forward who would set the framework and the mind-set of being an England player.
"Chris Robshaw, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt - they were the ones who then set that framework up as leaders within the team. I just then gave them the opportunity to express themselves both in meetings and on the training fields."
Going on the attack
Lancaster has changed the culture and the ethos of the England team, but ultimately they will be judged by what they do on the pitch.
Their defence has been solid but throughout the Six Nations and on their tour to South Africa they struggled to be creative - an issue that Lancaster knows he must change.
"I think any coach will tell you that attack is a lot harder to create," he explained. "People look at it in isolation and say it is about scoring tries, but it is about building pressure, playing in the right area and about the kicking game, too.
"It is all inter-related, but we want to be better because the reality is defence will stop you from losing games but attack will win you games."
Taking on the Southern Hemisphere big guns is never easy but with the likes of Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Jonathan Joseph out with injury, Lancaster faces an even tougher task - but he is still reluctant to pick any French-based players into the squad.
Steffon and Delon Armitage have been receiving rave reviews for their performances for Toulon, with many pundits saying that Steffon is the kind of flanker that England are missing - but Lancaster disagrees.
"You can never say never but we still have to get release from the French clubs," he added. "The players cannot be available for the camps when we need them so there has to be a pretty strong reason why we would want to bring someone in.
"They would have to be operating at a much higher level than someone who we already have in our squad, and when you look at Steffon Armitage as an example, who is playing very well in Toulon, he has got to get in ahead of Chris Robshaw for me.
"Fundamentally I would prefer English based players to be playing in England. I want to support our English clubs in that regard."