Planet Rugby

Lancaster waiting on captaincy call

08th October 2013 18:05

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Biding time: Stuart Lancaster

England head coach Stuart Lancaster is in no rush to decide on who will captain his side during the November Internationals.

Chris Robshaw has lead England for the majority of Lancaster's tenure since being appointed before the 2012 Six Nations championship, during which England have finished second twice in the annual tournament whilst also defeating world champions New Zealand last December.

However Northampton Saints flanker Tom Wood captained the side during their successful tour of Argentina back in June, when several leading players were either rested or away with the British and Irish Lions in Australia.

England's multitude of options in the back-row mean neither Robshaw or Wood are necessarily guaranteed a starting spot, hence Lancaster's preference to wait until after the two opening weekends of the Heineken Cup before making a decision.

"We have two big European weekends and I've consistently said you must select on form and fitness first. Injuries also play a part," said Lancaster.

"Equally there's no need to announce a captain early when it might influence what you're thinking selection wise.

"If you name the captain early then you're pretty much ruling out everybody else playing in that position and I want to keep competition for places high.

"It's about having a really strong leadership group because it's an outdated model where you have one person who has sole responsibility for everyone.

"All senior players have a role to play in the on-field decision making. It will be an important announcement but the most important thing is to have that strength of leadership across the field."

Lancaster also reflected on the loss of starting centres Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi to injury, expecting their replacements - including Billy Twelvetrees, Kyle Eastmond, Jonathan Joseph and Joel Tomkins - to make the most of the opportunity.

"To lose Brad and Manu in the space of a week was disappointing because both of them are high quality players," added Lancaster.

"They have both been key figures for us and were British and Irish Lions. It's meant we've had to look at other options, which is a good thing in my mind.

"Injuries have created opportunities for people in the past and they've taken them."

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