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The House of Lancaster: How England Rugby was Reinvented By Neil Squires

Release date: 10th August, 2015
Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press

List Price: £18.99
Our Price: £12.91
You Save: £6.08 (32%)
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Apart from possessing an abundance of tactical nous, an ability to inspire and a clear understanding of the importance of delegation, the very best, most successful managers of sporting institutions have two additional characteristics in common.

First, they never blow their own trumpet and second, they appreciate how important it is to keep some distance between themselves and their charges.

Granted, they’ll occasionally let players off the leash, but as their role is to coerce, hug or kick them into action, they never get too close because professional sportsmen and women must always know who’s the boss.

After reading The House of Lancaster, it’s evident that, given his impressive managerial abilities and complete lack of ego (the author reveals that he was “not best pleased” to discover a book was being written about him), Stuart Lancaster could yet emulate the achievements of Britain’s greatest sporting coaches.

It goes without saying that despite an impressive match win ratio, Lancaster is aware that his England rugby XV have won nothing under his leadership, an omission he plans to rectify once the Rugby World Cup kicks off next month.

He has spent much of the past three years building the foundations of a team culture, a process that has worked for him since he was a coach at the Leeds Academy. His profile began to rise when he was appointed coach of the full Leeds side, but his team-based ethos remained as it was when looking after the youngsters. Everything was done together – from jogging out of the changing rooms as a team to completing ‘forfeits’, usually in the form of an extended run as a result of someone doing something wrong, as a single unit. It is the same with England and as a consequence, the players know they can rely upon each other.

Lancaster also possesses that hard-hearted, clinical streak which has been a feature of the truly great managers: he’s never afraid to drop a ‘big-name’ player, usually in the hope that it’ll act as a kick up the backside.

Former England lock Paul Ackford called The House of Lancaster a “highly readable analysis”, adding that supporters should “not approach the Rugby World Cup without it,” a testimonial with which it is difficult to disagree.

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