Rugby Thoughts – Home Country Coaches

With all the home countries crashing out of the rugby World Cup the status of the four coaches has come under the spot light.

I’m sure that the we would also be looking at the coaches of Italy and France if they weren’t already being replaced.

Vern Cotter

Scotland probably had the best Rugby World Cup and exceeded expectations. You could argue that a quarter final exit is a par result but they pushed Australia all the way.

Cotter is contracted until 2017 and so far his period in charge would be characterised as good performances but lacking results. That’s shown with his record of 10 wins and 11 losses. But those 10 wins include 6 against tier 2 opposition. The important thing though is that they performed when it mattered at the Rugby World Cup. That along with improved performances mean that his position, quite rightly, is not under threat.

Warren Gatland

I’d say that Wales also exceeded expectations to come out of their pool and push South Africa all the way, considereding their injuries. The problem though is that Wales lost their games against Australia and South Africa rather than being beaten. Their inability to move the ball wide lost them both games as they were able to cope with everything those teams threw at them.

The question is after 8 years has Gatland taken Wales as far as he can? Could anyone else get anything more out of this group of players? The answers are probably just about and no. So without those injuries, they might have been able to go further.

With that in mind it seems strange that some people are questioning his position. He has a contract through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup and I can’t see him going anywhere.

Joe Schmidt

Ireland came up short as a par performance for them was reaching the semi finals for the first time. They won their pool but they were the only pool winners not to make it past the quarter finals. They lost key leaders to injury and suspension but were still expected to progress or at least finish closer.

Schmidt has taken Ireland to the unprecedented heights of 2nd in the world rankings as well as claiming two 6 Nations championships. He has been criticised for a pragmatic/boring playing style. This has been at least partially, in response to a new inexperienced midfield combination. I’m surprised to hear people questioning his position and I think he can develop Ireland’s game plan. With a contract through to 2017 again I can’t see him going anywhere.

Stuart Lancaster

England had a disastrous Rugby World Cup. Prior to the tournament many commentators had England down as contenders. Personally I thought that was a little over the top but thought that they could make the semi finals. Going out in the pool stages was clearly a major underperformance.

Even though I thought England could make the semi finals I also thought that Lancaster lost the plot in New Zealand last year. Since then there has been inconsistency in selection and the perception of confused thinking. Unlike the other three coaches where you can see the progress or maximum performances from the squad. Lancaster appears to be getting less than the sum of the parts. With a contract until 2020 and a review panel including people who hired him, on the surface he position would be secure. However there are rumours of the RFU approaching at least a handful of high level coaches to see their availability. Personally I can’t see how he can be kept on, but stranger things have happened at the RFU.

In summary the only coach of the home unions that should be concerned is Lancaster. All the others look to be doing a good job even if there is room for improvement.

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