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'It's actually a lot closer to home than Twickenham': Lancaster enjoying life at Leinster

The 47-year-old splits his time between Leeds and Dublin.

Lancaster and head coach Leo Cullen at training in UCD earlier.
Lancaster and head coach Leo Cullen at training in UCD earlier.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

STUART LANCASTER HAS refused to be drawn on speculation surrounding his future but hinted that he would be keen to stay at Leinster beyond this season.

The former England head coach was appointed to the province’s senior coaching team in September and has played a huge role in Leinster’s encouraging progress this campaign.

His name has been linked with the Connacht job Pat Lam will vacate at the end of the term while he is likely to be in high-demand elsewhere as his redemption in Dublin gathers momentum.

“There’s plenty of speculation at the moment and I can’t really control that,” he said earlier when asked whether he’d like to extend his initial one-year deal at Leinster.

“I’m getting on with the day job really and what’s happening the here and now. I’m sure those things will get looked at in the New Year but I’m certainly happy and very much enjoying my time here.”

The 47-year-old splits his time between Dublin and his hometown of Leeds, where his wife and children are based. He regularly makes the commute over the Irish sea and faces a lot of travelling over the Christmas period.

Stuart Lancaster Lancaster speaking to the media earlier. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It’s been fine, it’s been great really,” he says of the Leinster job. “My wife and kids have been over here and they’ve really enjoyed their time.

“For me the commute is easy, I came in from Leeds this morning and was in work for 8.15am. It’s an easy commute, it works well. The family are used to being away from home with the England job and this is actually a lot closer to home than Twickenham to be honest.

“Christmas is a bit of a challenge if I’m being honest. We’re training Christmas Eve, so there’s a flight back early afternoon. I’m reading reports of air strikes and baggage strikes so I’m going home Christmas Eve.

“I’m spending Christmas Day in Leeds and there’s a flight back on the 26th in the morning so fingers crossed there’s no fog, frost or strike. If there is I won’t be at Thomond Park.”

If all goes to plan, it will be Lancaster’s first taste of an interpro derby at the Limerick venue; a fixture he says there is a lot of excitement over.

“It’s the first time I’ve been away at Munster so it’s a new experience for me,” he continued.

“You can sense it already in the week, I’m sure it’s the same down there. When the game comes around I’d imagine they could sell that stadium out four or five times for this one. It’s going to be a great game and I’m looking forward to it.

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“It is the same in England with the players who are likely to be involved in the Six Nations will get one week off in or around the Christmas period and it’s the same over here.

Jamie Heaslip congratulates Tadhg Furlong on scoring their fifth try Leinster have enjoyed a productive period and head into the festive fixtures full of confidence. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It’s just about making sure the side we put out is strong and I think it will be but as you say you’ve got to juggle it and make sure we put out to good teams in the next two weeks because they’re massive games.”

Leinster head into Christmas in control of their Champions Cup pool with three wins from four while they lie level on points with Munster at the top of the Pro12 table.

Monday’s festive clash has all the ingredients to be a cracker.

“We’ve made good progress. I can see the improvements on the training field and the pleasing thing is we’ve translated those into performances.

“Often as a coach you see them on the training field and you don’t quite see the fruits of your labour but I think recently we’ve began to do that and the players have got more confident in what we’re doing because they’ve put in work on the training field. I can’t fault their effort, and desire to learn and I think that’s translating into performances.

“We’ll have to be at our best to beat Munster but we’ll be confident and I’ll certainly be looking forward to it. For me it will be right up there in terms of the games I’ve been involved in. ”

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