Six Nations - Lancaster: England must be like All Blacks

England coach Stuart Lancaster will send England into the Six Nations with the challenge of emulating the All Blacks.

PA Sport
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Stuart Lancaster

This time last year, Lancaster took charge with English rugby "in the gutter" following the 2011 Rugby World Cup and he made great strides in building a new national team.

England enjoyed memorable victories over France, Ireland and New Zealand in 2012 - but the next phase for Lancaster is building consistency and winning trophies.

"It is important. To win consistently is important. That is what champion teams do," Lancaster said. "The trick is to win consistently, even when you are the target. That is what the All Blacks do. That is what we have to strive towards."

He added: "Expectations have risen and this time last year people were looking at us as an unknown force. Now they know. We have to be one step ahead, not one step behind."

It is 10 years since England were the trend-setters in world rugby, one step ahead of the game. It is also 10 years since they won a Grand Slam.

The two are not mutually exclusive and that is key to why Lancaster has been given a much more powerful brief within the Rugby Football Union.

Lancaster will now manage the whole England performance programme - including Saxons, age-group teams, women and sevens - as well as coaching the national team.

It was only a year ago that Lancaster, a relative unknown outside of Twickenham, was asked to take caretaker charge of the England team while the RFU sought out a permanent successor for Martin Johnson.

Lancaster decided the only way forward was to build a completely new England team, with a new set of values which he wanted to permeate throughout the RFU.

It was former England star Graham Rowntree who praised Lancaster for hauling them out of the gutter. Now they are looking at the stars but reaching them can only be done through victories.

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