Lewis Moody: If it ain't broke, don't fix it: Lancaster deserves England job

 

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If last Saturday showed anything, it is that Stuart Lancaster and his coaching team are on the right lines. So why are some people still calling for a big name to take over England? To me, it would be change for change's sake and would seem so pointless.

Of course, I can see the attraction of someone like Nick Mallett. He's a great coach and has the CV. But now Stuart has brought this team this far, he should be allowed to continue. The sceptics may look at Stuart's credentials and say: "Oh, he was head coach at Leeds and they were relegated and then he only took charge of the England Academy and the Saxons, so what has he achieved?"

Even if they ignore the fact that Leeds had the smallest resources in the league, they clearly can't have been watching the Wales game. Here was an inexperienced England side who were expected to lose comfortably to Wales and yet they left the pitch at the end of 80 minutes of proper Test rugby feeling they should have won. The improvements were obvious and showed the strides Stuart and his team have made.

There is a great atmosphere within the camp now and there's a genuine chance to forge something special. I know there's a big difference between club and international rugby, but the example I'd like to use is Exeter, who are the surprise package of this season's Premiership.

They don't have any real draw players, but week in, week out, they overperform and win games they shouldn't on paper. That's just because of the culture and belief they've created down there; they know what they want to do and, more to the point, they know they want to do it for each other. Having that tight-knit squad mentality is so important.

There have been a lot of debuts handed out in the first three games. Some of the players won't be seen at this level again, some will. But Stuart and his staff now know who is up to the task and, in a transitional period, that is an exercise which must be done. Another reason to keep faith.

Yet my worry is that, if England finish with only two wins, the clamour for a top name will grow. I said at the start of the Six Nations, that three wins would have to be seen as a success. I am still optimistic England will win one of their remaining two matches, but I honestly believe the best shout was against Wales. Saying that, there are still chances. Stade de France is a cauldron, but the boys have shown they can cope in a hostile environment. But a win over there will be a lot to expect from a young side.

Ireland must be the primary hope. Like France, they will have played three games on the bounce when it comes to the final weekend and may show up at Twickenham fatigued. They're an ageing team and may have nothing to chase but pride. England, in contrast, may well be playing for the jobs of their coaching staff and that could be so galvanising.

I sincerely wish they pull it off and, if they don't, I hope Stuart and his team stay on anyway. They're in the process of fixing, so don't break it up again.

Lewis Moody is a TAG Heuer ambassador. TAG Heuer are the official watch of England Rugby

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