Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has urged the Rugby Football Union to focus on English talent when appointing Stuart Lancaster’s replacement as national team coach.
Baxter, who could be among the contenders to get the England job, spoke on Thursday after the RFU said it was seeking a coach with international experience, apparently ruling out several options currently working in the Aviva Premiership.
“I actually think English coaches are best placed to work on the management of England’s best players through into an international environment and get the best out of them,” Baxter said on the Exeter Chiefs website.
“For me, the key thing to remember before we start talking about an overseas coach is that sometimes you need to step back and appreciate that the cultures of New Zealand rugby, Australian rugby and South African rugby, are very different to English rugby.
“And I think before the RFU jump into this perceived need to sign a southern hemisphere coach, they need to hold on a little bit and remember that the set-up in England is very different to the set-ups in Super Rugby.”
Baxter pointed to Northampton’s Jim Mallinder and Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill as possible candidates, while warning that a foreign coach could struggle to adapt to the Premiership set-up.
“England need to be very careful that they don’t think they’re going to put a coach into the English game, which is built differently through the Premiership clubs, and think that that guy’s not going to get quite frustrated with what he wants to put in place.
“We’ve got a very challenging structure here at club level. It’s very pressurised with promotion and relegation between the Championship and Premiership, and that creates new pressures and it creates people who can deal with these things and deal with difficult scenarios.
“I don’t see why guys who are flourishing in the Premiership can’t go on and flourish in the international environment.”
Asked if he was himself a candidate, Baxter said: “I’m under a long-term contract here at Exeter, I’ve not been contacted by the RFU, so there’s no more to tell you really.”