Contenders to replace Lancaster

Date published: November 11 2015

Stuart Lancaster's departure from the England head coaching role means one of the most attractive coaching roles in world rugby is available.

But who would be the best person to replace him? Here are some options, in no particular order.

Rob Baxter

Jim Mallinder, Richard Cockerill, Dean Ryan and former defence coach Mike Ford have been mentioned in the past as English coaches worthy of a crack at the top job, but Baxter seems like the best bet. The Exeter Chiefs boss worked with the England side two years ago in Argentina and his work with the Devon side hauling them into the top half of the Premiership and also into the Champions Cup speaks for itself. Negatives are that Baxter distanced himself from the role at the Premiership launch last week and he also lacks experience in Test rugby – a road England went down four years ago.

Dave Rennie

Proven success rate at developing young talents at the Chiefs, where Rennie won two Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013, and also with the New Zealand U20s. Tipped as an All Blacks coach in waiting for some time, with Steve Hansen going nowhere until after 2017 Rennie could jump at the chance to move abroad. Rennie doesn't exactly mince his words when his side comes off second best and will demand high standards.

Wayne Smith

Smith was chased down to be Staurt Lancaster's assistant before Andy Farrell took the role and was also tipped to take over alongside Nick Mallett, but neither happened. Highly regarded across the world for his intuitive coaching abilities, Smith was recently part of the All Blacks' coaching staff which triumphed at the 2015 World Cup, after helping the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Rugby titles. Whether the former Northampton boss would consider another move abroad is the burning question.

Michael Cheika

Cheika is under contract with the Wallabies until 2017 but that didn't stop the RFU from having to deny an approach had been made earlier this week. The way he's turned Australia around in such a short period of time has been impressive, not to mention coaching the Waratahs to the 2014 Super Rugby championship. Cheika was reportedly contacted by RFU president Jason Leonard last week to gauge his availability.

Nick Mallett

Currently a successful TV pundit back in South Africa, Mallett has previously coached South Africa, Japan and Italy at Test level, giving him a wealth of experience. His time out of coaching isn't likely to be an issue, however, Mallett intimated while the World Cup was still going on that he wasn't interested in helping England out – so does he really have the hunger left to take up arguably the highest-profile job in the sport?

Eddie Jones

Jones' heroics with Japan at this Rugby World Cup have thrust his name back into the spotlight. The Australian of course previously reached the World Cup final with the Wallabies back in 2003, and was then part of South Africa's coaching staff when the Springboks triumphed in 2007. Getting the best out of Japan's squad made Jones our coach of the World Cup. He's now contracted to take over at the Stormers, but stranger things have happened.

Jake White

The bookies' immediate favourite following Wednesday's announcement, White is currently employed by Montpellier in the Top 14 and signed a two-year extension with the club earlier this year. Would no doubt jump at the chance to coach at Test level again, although he hasn't coach at the top of the sport since 2007.