Wednesday 18 September 2019

Stuart Lancaster rules himself out of vacant Harlequins job as he insists he is fully committed to Leinster

Senior coach Stuart Lancaster. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Senior coach Stuart Lancaster. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Mick Cleary

Former England head coach Stuart Lancaster has ruled himself out of consideration for the vacant job at Harlequins, as well as any position that might come up for the foreseeable future so that he can concentrate wholly on his role with Leinster who face Racing 92 in the final of the Champions Cup in Bilbao on Saturday.

Lancaster, who was dismissed in the wake of England’s poor performance at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, is contracted with Leinster through to the end of the 2018-19 season but would be a prime target for any Premiership club given his lengthy experience and his success over the last two years as a senior coach with Leinster. 

“I have not had any communication from them (Harlequins) and I have not proactively sought it,” said Lancaster, who had been without work for nine months when an opportunity as a defence coach arose unexpectedly at Leinster in September.

“I am 100 per cent committed here. It would also be 100 per cent the wrong thing to do to start talking about trying to win something at Leinster and at the same time try and create an opportunity elsewhere. I wouldn’t even contemplate doing it.”

Lancaster has no intention of seeking out possibilities that might arise over the next 12 months, preferring to be fully engaged with his hands-on coaching role at the Irish province who will be aiming for their fourth European Cup title at the San Mames stadium.

The 48 year old, who was appointed England head coach in the wake of the scandal-hit 2011 World Cup, will let matters run their own course.

“Very much so,” said Lancaster, after overseeing afternoon training at Leinster’s complex at University College Dublin.

“I enjoyed working in England, working for England and coaching England was a fantastic experience - great memories. Equally, to come here and coach in the Pro14, in Ireland, has been fantastic. Whether it (the next job) is in France or the southern hemisphere, or stay at Leinster for the next 10 years - who knows? “

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