England Rugby Coach Stuart Lancaster Has Taken Advice From Roy Hodgson Ahead Of World Cup
Stuart Lancaster’s blueprint for England World Cup glory includes advice from Roy Hodgson and Dave Brailsford.
The rugby coach has been taking counsel from English sporting chiefs from the world of football, cycling, the Olympics and cricket.
Lancaster wanted to learn from the good and bad experiences of his peers, especially on how to help his side cope with being hosts of the 2015 tournament.
As the year of destiny arrives, Lancaster has even dug out testimony from New Zealand star Dan Carter on how they won it four years ago on home soil as part of his thorough preparations.
Lancaster says England are in it to win it, but concedes a positive start in the group games, including Pool A clashes against Fiji, Wales, Australia and Uruguay, is vital.
The Cumbrian said: “I have spoken to the majority of other sporting leaders. I spoke to Roy Hodgson about his experience at the World Cup.
“The lesson was you have got to win the first game. Get momentum. They played very well in the first game. It all came down to momentum. It was very much Roy’s feeling, that not having got the first game win, they didn’t have momentum.
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“I have spent time speaking to the people involved in the Olympics in 2012, really, the cyclists and how they dealt with the pressure of the home Olympics, so that’s been useful.
“Speaking to Sir Dave Brailsford (ex-performance director of British Cycling and Team Sky chief), Dave very much emphasised you have got two ways of thinking about it.
You either think, ‘What happens if we don’t succeed in front of the home crowd?’, or positively, you think, ‘What happens when it all goes right?’ and ‘What it’s going to feel like if we can really, really perform well?’.
“They did that exceptionally well, so managing that home Olympics was successfully done by every sport, really, there were very few sports that didn’t deliver.
“I spoke to Andy Flower and Peter Moores the cricket guys. You can ask how they went about it, how they did it. (The Ashes on home soil). We all want each other to succeed. You’d be daft not to work together.
“Andrew Strauss spoke to the players 18 months ago. The players took a lot from that about managing the pressure on winning an Ashes series. And why they felt they didn’t continue that success.”
Lancaster has eight more games to get his side in shape, but being close to home in the Autumn will mean some escape from the pressure.
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He added: “Dan Carter has written about the advantages of being in a home World Cup where actually, whilst the intense scrutiny in massive and the pressure is huge in terms of home expectation, you can get home.
“You can get out of the bubble of the World Cup, on your day off, you can actually physically go home, you can see family and friends and have a bit of normality in your life.
"So being in England in one way raises expectation, but in another way, allows the players to get a little bit of normality as well.”
Lancaster concluded: “From my point of view we have to take advice and speak to various people but plot our own path. It is defined by the Six Nations and those games will be crucial, plus three warm up games.
“I have had 32 games in charge. There are eight to go. There are almost a quarter of the games left, in my mind. But it is only nine months away. The clock is ticking.
“But we can”t look too far ahead. We have the Six Nations first.”
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