Revealed: England coach Stuart Lancaster part of elite think tank along with Dave Brailsford

'No one knows everything' says England coach as he confirms meetings with Dave Brailsford and others to exchange ideas

Stuart Lancaster, England's head rugby union coach, and Dave Brailsford, the man behind Britain's cycling success, have set up a unique talking shop of leading coaches from across different sports. Lancaster this week leads England into his second Six Nations with a long-term goal of winning the World Cup on home soil in 2015 and is keen to garner any advantage he can towards that aim, including this innovative link-up.

The group, which includes Mike Forde, director of football operations at Chelsea, Geoff McGrath of McLaren and Damien Comolli, Liverpool's former director of football, will meet again in April as a forum for the swapping of ideas and practices across sport. Currently it is an informal arrangement but Brailsford has revealed he is keen for it to become a more regular, formalised get-together and to attract wider involvement from across Europe and the US.

Lancaster too is an enthusiast, buying into Brailsford's belief that there is much to be gained through sporting crossover, a factor that while common in Olympic sports remains rare in larger team sports such as rugby union and football. "No one knows everything," said Lancaster yesterday of his backing for the idea.

"Stuart's doing well at the moment and he's an interesting guy," said Brailsford, Team Sky's principal and performance director at British Cycling. "We're looking to get more people involved. We're meeting next at the end of April. You get a group of people together [and] you get a different perspective. It's good to try and [we want to] start picking off people from Europe and America."

The group has met once so far, but will reconvene once the Six Nations, which England open against Scotland on Saturday, is complete. Lancaster said: "I am really keen on the continued exchange of ideas between high-level coaches. This is the early stage but I am very hopeful something fruitful will come out of it."

The idea was first discussed when Brailsford and Lancaster had dinner together last year after Lancaster made a presentation to a conference at Stamford Bridge. Brailsford has been a pioneer in bringing coaches from outside cycling into the sport – Team Sky have recently recruited Shaun Stephens, Australia's Olympic triathlon coach – and is renowned for his attention to small detail, the "marginal gains" credited as a cornerstone of the success of Britain's Olympic cyclists at the last two Games.

Lancaster has already revealed himself to be an admirer of Brailsford's approach by recruiting Matt Parker, British Cycling's head of marginal gains. One of Parker's 2012 hits was "Project Golden Hour" that ensured his cyclists remained warmed-up and fresh during the hour between the semi-finals and finals in the Velodrome – the athletes used "hot pants" that had been trialled on England's sevens team earlier in the year.

Brailsford is close to Clive Woodward through the former England and British Lions coach's role with the British Olympic Association and the two exchanged ideas in the build-up to the Olympics. Forde, who has been with Chelsea for five years, also has rugby links, having worked with the All Blacks, as well as with formula one through time with British American Racing. Forde made his name at Bolton when the club became known for the number of backroom staff employed by Sam Allardyce.

McGrath oversees McLaren Applied Technologies, an off-shoot of the F1 team that came up with the bike Mark Cavendish rode in the 2011 Tour de France as well as helping Amy Williams win Olympic skeleton gold in 2010. Under McGrath's guidance the company has designed technology to monitor how quickly a player tires on the pitch.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own