x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Stuart Lancaster turns to league leaders to aid union

The ties between English rugby union and league continue to draw closer and are in stark contrast to the days when players and officials of both codes despised each other.

 

The ties between English rugby union and league continue to draw closer and are in stark contrast to the days when players and officials of both codes despised each other.

The quality coaching of rugby league greats Andy Farrell, at Saracens, and Shaun Edwards, with London Wasps and Wales, have enhanced the 15-man game while converts such as Jason Robinson and Chris Ashton have been hugely successful for England's union side at international level.

So it is no surprise Stuart Lancaster, the interim head coach of the national union side, has turned to the 13-a-side code for inspiration. He has asked Jamie Peacock, the Great Britain rugby league captain and former Man of Steel, to speak to the union elite performance squad on what it means to represent the country.

Peacock has won just about everything there is to win in rugby league, and Farrell, who is part of Lancaster's coaching team, probably still has the bruises from his battles with one of the most uncomprising and passionate players to have played the game.

Lancaster has also asked Dave Brailsford, the mastermind of British Cycling's success, and a British soldier, to talk to his squad. "It's a matter of learning from other sports," he said.

A squad who conducted themselves so poorly on and off the field at the World Cup will certainly learn a lot about character, patriotism and pride from someone such as Peacock.

 

sentwistle@thenational.ae