Today the news was announced that Stuart Lancaster would take over as England head coach on a permanent basis after a promising Six Nations campaign. His current backroom staff will still need to be persuaded to stay on full-time, as Andy Farrell is technically only helping out on a part-time basis, but the fact the former France defence coach Dave Reddin and recent New Zealand attack coach Wayne Smith are interested in linking up with the RFU suggests the coaching options are pretty good.
I’m sure one of the reasons for the interest in the post is the fact England are due to host the next World Cup in 2015, and the fact guys like Nick Mallett and Smith want to be a part of that suggests they believe England have a genuine chance of taking a victory on home soil. The current generation also contains many stars of the future and potential British Lions for the Australia tour in the likes of Ashton, Owen Farrell, the as-yet unused Kyle Eastmond and Chris Robshaw, who is 12/1 with Ladbrokes to lead the Lions down under.
Before then there is a Six Nations next year, with England rated as second-favourites with France. I’m personally unconvinced that the current champs, the Welsh, are capable of going forward with the players they have now, and think England could almost justifiably be called favourites, so the 3/1 with BetFred could come in. Of course, with the autumn internationals ahead of Lancaster and co that price could go in or out, and the French will possibly improve ahead of the next iteration of the Six Nations.
And the chances long term, for that already mentioned World Cup? The best price on England is 7/1 with StanJames, New Zealand being the favourites at 2/1 (SkyBet) and Australia next at 6’s (SkyBet). It may seem a bit early for those odds, but it shows the bookies feel the Red Rose brigade are going in the right direction with the new setup, and the noises coming out of the England camp are also encouraging. The future looks bright for the red and white.