Mallinder rules out England role

Lancaster's chances of cementing his position as coach grow as candidates fall by the wayside

The Rugby Football Union was hoping that its recent transformation from sporting basket case – "bunker mentality" and "whelk stall" were the phrases that sprang most easily to mind as recently as three months ago – to something a little more professional might do it some good on the recruitment front, especially with the England coaching vacancy waiting to be filled. Not so, apparently. No sooner had Wayne Smith, the respected All Black tactician, ended his interest in the position than Jim Mallinder, who is widely regarded as the brightest coaching talent in the country, arrived at a similar decision.

"No, I haven't applied," the Northampton director of rugby stated yesterday. "It's probably the best job in the world, coaching-wise: what a great opportunity. But at the moment I'm concerned with getting Northampton to win something. You can't be distracted. It has to be full-on and that's what I am. I'd like to do England at some point – I spoke to Rob Andrew [the governing body's director of rugby operations] a month or so ago and expressed that. But it has to be the right thing at the right time."

Increasingly, the caretaker coach Stuart Lancaster looks like a man with a genuine chance of cementing his position: indeed, growing numbers of insiders believe he is a victory away from taking an unassailable lead in the race for the position. That victory may prove beyond him, of course: Wales, who visit Twickenham on Six Nations business a week tomorrow, are not in the mood to give a mere Englishman a leg up in the job market, and with France and Ireland also looming, the deed is far from done. But for every RFU member who would like to see the experienced South African Nick Mallett take the reins through to the World Cup in 2015, there is another who would rather see the role performed by a man from these shores. Yesterday's developments shortened the odds on Lancaster.

Mallinder is a loss to the process. His achievement in making international-quality players of Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Phil Dowson and Tom Wood cannot be underestimated and there is a possibility that another of his protégés, the scrum-half Lee Dickson, will be picked ahead of the out-of-sorts Ben Youngs for the game against Wales.

Youngs was honest enough in his self-appraisal after viewing footage of last weekend's narrow victory over Italy – a contest that turned England's way after Dickson's introduction off the bench. "I've watched the match twice and it didn't go as well as I'd have liked," he admitted. "I was frustrated with myself when I came off. The game was just breaking up, which is what I enjoy. If I'd got things right in the first half, maybe it would have been different.

"I've spoken to quite a few people since: family, the coaches here with England and those at Leicester. They believe I need to go back to doing what I do – to play my natural game rather than over-think things. I'm at my best when I play what I see and just go with it. I haven't been doing that of late. Instead, I've been trying to force it."

Did his father, the former England half-back Nick Youngs, tell him all this? "Yes, but even if I'd had an absolute 'mare he'd still pick out the good things," Youngs Jnr replied. "He's my dad, so that's his job. And, anyway, he's fully aware that he doesn't understand today's game as well as the coaches. He'll give his views, but with him it's more of a casual chat."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory