Graham Rowntree is ‘confident’ on England coach call

FORWARDS coach Graham Rowntree is determined to make life even tougher for the new Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie as he prepares England to face Ireland at Twickenham

Rowntree’s future with the national team – and that of interim coach Stuart Lancaster – is up in the air while Ritchie decides who should be appointed as England’s new head coach.

After Jake White last week ruled himself out of contention, the RFU would appear to have a straight choice between Lancaster and Nick Mallett to lead England into the 2015 World Cup.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ritchie, who has only been in the job for two weeks, acknowledged he faces a “difficult decision” to weigh up Lancaster’s current achievements with a vastly more experienced candidate.

The clamour for Lancaster to continue would increase again if England were to sign off from the RBS Six Nations with a home win against Ireland, having beaten France 24-22 in Paris last weekend.

And Rowntree believes that is the best way for him and for Lancaster to stake their claim for permanent future employment at Twickenham.

“All we can do is do our jobs daily,” Rowntree said. “The three of us (Lancaster, Rowntree and Andy Farrell) are covering a lot of bases in this group and that is working well.

“We have enough on our plates worrying about the game on the weekend. Everything else will take care of itself if we get the short-term things right.

“The head coach job (decision) is out of our hands. All we can do is try and do our jobs to the greatest of our ability.

“I am confident in the process and I am confident in the decision-makers there (at the RFU).We have just got to get on, do our jobs and we’ll help us and Stuart going forward.”

The temporary management team of Lancaster, Rowntree and Farrell have received widespread praise for transforming England’s fortunes, following last year’s damaging World Cup debacle.

England are now fourth in the world following Sunday’s win in Paris and, mathematically at least, head into the final weekend of the Six Nations with a shot at the title.

No England side has ever won all three away matches in one Championship season before and in Paris they underscored three exhilarating tries with another committed defensive performance.

“It comes back to the culture of wanting to work for each other,” Rowntree said. “That is the bedrock of Stuart’s philosophy. In terms of the players he has picked we have some great characters who are very selfless in this group.”