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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 18 January, 2019

Lancaster in contract talks with Leinster, but refuses to rule out Farrell reunion

The Leinster senior coach has not received any contact from outside the province over his future.

STUART LANCASTER HAS once again restated his happiness in his current role as Leinster senior coach, but left the door open for talks with Andy Farrell about the possibility of joining the Ireland set-up.

Lancaster, out of contract with the province at the end of the current season, has been linked with the England and Ireland national teams, as well as with Premiership side Bath, in recent weeks.

Stuart Lancaster Lancaster is in talks with Leinster over a new contract. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

As speculation intensifies over his future, the 49-year-old this afternoon said he has not received any contact over other roles, as he continues talks with Leinster about extending his contract with the defending European champions, who are understandably keen to retain his services.

Lancaster, although keeping his cards close to his chest, also confirmed he intends to meet with Farrell — who will take over from Joe Schmidt as Ireland head coach after next year’s World Cup — in the coming weeks to discuss his future plans.

“I’m used to it [the speculation],” he said at UCD, ahead of Leinster’s return fixture against Bath this weekend.

“I’ve been consistent since I’ve been here. I’ve really enjoyed Leinster, I really enjoy coaching at Leinster. It’s a great team and a great environment to work in.

“I enjoy club coaching, I enjoy the day-in, day-out interaction with the players. I enjoy the moments when the internationals are away and we’ve got the younger players to coach.

“All this speculation, it’s like people are ringing me all the time — I don’t get any phone calls. So, I’m just ploughing along, enjoying what I’m doing at Leinster.

“I don’t look too far ahead anymore, I was contracted with England until 2019 and that changed on the World Cup.

I’ve stopped looking ahead now, but I can certainly reassure everyone I’m very happy at Leinster.

Lancaster, who has been with Leinster for three seasons and has played an integral role in the province’s success in recent years, was asked if he was close to agreeing new terms with his current employers.

“There’s definitely talks ongoing and I’m happy with where I’m at,” the Englishman added.

“The family situation works. It’s not ideal, and I’ve said that consistently; that flying backwards and forwards…my daughter’s just gone to university and my son is a year away from going to university. I occasionally see my wife.

“But yeah I’m certainly happy with Leinster but we’ll see how it all plays out.”

Interim RFU chief executive Nigel Melville last week suggested he would be open to bringing Lancaster back into the England set-up, but again the former Red Rose boss insisted he had not given much thought to the idea. 

Stuart Lancaster Lancaster speaking at UCD this afternoon. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“I think they suggested that every coach in world rugby is of interest, I don’t think it’s narrowed down to me,” Lancaster continued.

“I think that was the way it was described, but I think Nigel Melville said they’d be happy to talk to any coach and I’d fall into that category.” 

During his time in charge of England, Lancaster worked with Farrell before the pair lost their jobs following the disastrous home World Cup campaign in 2015, and reforming their coaching partnership with Ireland has been strongly mooted.

On the possibility of a reunion, he added: “It’s up to Andy to build his coaching team. The reality is he needs his coaching team to be ready by January 2020.

“I’ve not caught up with him actually since the announcement, I will do soon I’m sure and it will be up to him to shape that. I’ll have that conversation with him.

“He’s the right man for the job, in my opinion. I think that when Joe announced he was going there was only one person I felt was qualified to do the job and that was Andy.

“He’s sat as an assistant coach for eight years now, four with me and four with Joe.

“And when you’re sat in that assistant coaching role you can learn a lot about what you would do when you get your chance and Andy has got the opportunity now over the next six to nine months to put that into place.

“I think of my appointment as England head coach, I got it in December and my first game was in January. Andy’s got a year to decide what he wants to do, so I don’t think he’ll be in a hurry.” 

Originally published at 13.56

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Ryan Bailey

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