Stuart Lancaster calling all the shots after RFU shake-up

Stuart Lancaster's rapid and remarkable ascent from stand-in to supremo in the England set-up was all but confirmed following the announcement of the findings of an independent review into the Twickenham set-up following the national side's poor showing at the 2011 World Cup.

The Rugby Football Union is to create a new role of head of international player development, with the successful applicant answering to Lancaster. The England head coach will also lead a newly created department for international performance, into which the new appointment will fit, with Rob Andrew moved to lead a professional rugby department under a separation of powers. Except the powers will lie largely with Lancaster as the shake-up leaves the international side, at all levels from age group upwards, under his guidance less than a year after he was given the England job on a permanent basis.

The report, compiled by Peter Keen, who while at UK Sport played a key role in Britain's Olympic success, and Ian McGeechan, also recommended establishing a national performance centre – effectively a rugby version of football's St George's Park, with the aim to have the centre up and running "within 12 months of the Rugby World Cup in 2015."

Lancaster will have a say in the new appointment, as will Andrew, according to Ian Ritchie, the RFU's chief executive. The recruitment process will begin "within a matter of weeks".

The chief executive said: "This is a hugely significant role for the future of England rugby. It is a seriously grown-up role."

Ritchie denied that this elevated Lancaster into what is effectively the role of a performance director at Twickenham but it leaves the 43-year-old in a position of some strength. Ritchie also rejected suggestions that, should poor results cause Lancaster to lose his job as coach, that would require wholesale change throughout this newly established international structure. It is unclear what would happen to Lancaster's position as head of the new international performance department were he to be dismissed as coach.

"Stuart believes this is absolutely the right way to go," said Ritchie. "We have been very careful in looking how this works."

Ritchie described the head of international player development role as a "clear RFU full-time, permanent position" and not linked to whoever sits above him as head of department.

Andrew, who as the director of elite rugby first appointed Lancaster to a role at the RFU four years ago, finds himself removed from dealings with England sides. His role will be to oversee anti-doping, medicine, referee development and, most importantly, the relationship with the clubs, in particular the upcoming head of agreement renegotiations over player availability.

Saracens pick Twickenham

Saracens have announced that their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster on 6 April will be played at Twickenham. The club's new Allianz Park home, with its artificial surface, had been mooted, but chairman Nigel Wray said: "We look forward to playing this important match at the home of English rugby."

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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage