Lewis Moody: If it ain't broke, don't fix it - Lancaster must get the job

Moody Views

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 in 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. Otherwise all the good work will be forsaken and England will have to start from scratch again.

I like the feel of this England set-up. 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 proper Test minutes of rugby feeling they should have won. The improvements in both attack and defence were obvious and showed the strides Stuart and his team have made.

There's some serious coaching talent backing up Stuart, talent that would also probably be lost when a new man comes in with his own team. From what I've heard, Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell are phenomenal on the training ground, and they are only going to grow into their roles. The reports back are all positive.

There is a great atmosphere within the camp 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're a squad who aren't full of any stars, 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. Stuart, Graham and Andy are creating that with England, and add in the star quality they have at their disposal and it will go a long way. Why change it?

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 have a better idea who is up to the task and, in a transitional period, that is an exercise which must be done. Another reason to keep faith in him.

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, that coming off the back of those opening two triumphs on the road and with the extra charge the first game at Twickenham brings, 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 – I assure you they don't get more hostile than Murrayfield. Furthermore, France will have only had a week's turnaround, compared with England's fortnight, after the rearranged fixture with Ireland and this could be a factor. But still, 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 – albeit one with so much experience and quality – 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 for them and, if they don't, I hope Stuart and his team are handed the contracts 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

Farrell Jnr can avoid pitfalls with awesome Andy on side

My plea on behalf of Owen Farrell is leave him be. Please don't burden him with unrealistic expectations or big comparisons. Just remember he is only 20 years of age and still has so much learning and improving ahead of him.

Yes, it is very exciting when a new player emerges and I was as impressed as anyone by his display in the No 10 jersey last Saturday. He showed some real flair, and dare I say it, his chip through reminded me of Johnny Wilkinson circa 2002. But some of the reaction was over-the-top and won't do him any favours.

Wouldn't it be great if we could just let him get on with it and look back in a couple of years and say "what a player we have here"? He is so young for such a pressurised position and will inevitably make mistakes, as every young player does. Heaping pressure on those inexperienced shoulders and applying the superstar tag will only add to the load he must carry. Be patient, I urge.

The comforting thought is the father he has backing him up. Andy was a great player and is an awesome guy. He was one of the finest in terms of attitude and application I ever saw on the training ground. He has a simple mindset and is straight-talking; qualities which Owen seems to have inherited.

Andy certainly knows the pitfalls of being young and gifted. He won a Challenge Cup at 17, played for Great Britain at 18 and then captained the Lions on tour to New Zealand at 21. Now that's pressure. Perhaps he may remind Owen as much.

If anyone can, Warburton's the man

As a No 7, I appreciated Sam Warburton's performance at Twickenham more than most. I would say that, at 23, he has everything it takes to become a world-class open-side – but, plainly, he already is. Goodness knows how good he will become as he develops.

His work on the ground was imperious and it was interesting Wales went to him in the line-out so often. But it was his try-saving tackle on Manu Tuilagi which will live longest in my memory.

Essentially, it was an arm tackle and, having played with Manu for club and country, I can confirm that he breaks through arm tackles on any given day. Not this time, however, and he will be disappointed. Manu can take comfort in the fact that Warburton did everything right at this critical moment.

Will he take the Grand Slam in Cardiff on 17 March? Wales will do it if they can handle the pressure. The tag of favouritism probably got to them a little at Twickenham, but they came through. It will be fascinating to see how they handle all the hype in the next few weeks. My guess is that Captain Warburton will prove such an asset.

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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
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
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?