sport

Lancaster to follow NZ model

Two months after defeating New Zealand, Stuart Lancaster will send England into the Six Nations with the challenge of emulating the All Blacks.

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.

"Expectations have risen and this time last year people were looking at us as an unknown force. Now they know.

"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.

"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.

England are anticipating a dogfight at Twickenham tomorrow. Scotland have not won at the stadium in 30 years but England's last three wins have all been by a converted try or less.

In tight encounters such as that, Lancaster talks about players who offer a point of difference being critical. England have lost one in the injured Manu Tuilagi but hope to have found another in Billy Twelvetrees.

The England management have long been fans of Twelvetrees, who offered what Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies described as a complete package of qualities at inside centre.

Twelvetrees is a powerful defender and a strong ball-carrier but he also offers a more natural kicking and passing game than Bradley Barritt.

"I coached him with the Saxons in the Churchill Cup and I could see then he had lots of potential and physicality," Lancaster said.

"I have always wanted ball-players in the backline, as well as people who can carry as well as pace and physicality. Billy has an opportunity to demonstrate that he has all three.

"I have every confidence in him going into the game.

"Sometimes opportunities present themselves in different ways. We know Manu is going to be fit for next week and we hope Billy puts a marker down this week and gives us another headache."