Six Nations Championship 2014: Stuart Lancaster's Idea of Rugby Utopia Is Flawed

Jason PettigroveContributor IFebruary 1, 2014

Stuart Lancaster needs to take a more relaxed view of the motives of his playing staff.
Stuart Lancaster needs to take a more relaxed view of the motives of his playing staff.Sang Tan/Associated Press

England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster appears to be living a perfect Utopian existence where every player is only putting themselves on the line "for the badge" and "the glory."

It's about time someone grabbed hold and shook some common sense into him.

If England's coach is really under the impression that money and self-interest does not play a part, then clearly he is not the right man for the job.

Being a sportsman in 2014 does not only revolve around trophies or leaving legacies.

Yet, according to Paul Hayward of the Telegraph, Lancaster's view is:

Ultimately you suppress self-interest. You put the team ahead of your own individual needs.

If they’re only motivated by self – ‘I want to play for England to get as much money as I can, raise my profile, get commercial deals’ – you get effort, but they pick and choose.

Unlike their footballing counterparts, rugby players are very much second fiddle in the money-making stakes.

Therefore endorsement deals, personal gain and security for themselves and their family is not only sensible but a necessity. 

Lancaster's is a noble standpoint but really quite naive in this day and age.

Perhaps this is the true reason why Chris Ashton was left out:

He goes further:

I actually don’t think that type of player, who’s only in it for themselves, would get through the club structure now, to become an international player. Not in a sport like rugby.

The desire to play for each other and play for the shirt can take you to a place 10 or 15 per cent further than you’ve been before.

England take on a France team that is likely to be superior in a number of areas of the pitch, which makes Lancaster's choice of staff a little baffling.

For example, he has chosen two youngsters—Luther Burrell and Jack Nowell—to make their debut, and Jonny May will win only his second cap.

Does Lancaster's dim view of a certain type of player, nay person, therefore reflect his choices? Rather the hungry, willing and obedient youngster who will readily bend to his will.

Mark Reason of The Rugby Site was in no doubt that there wasn't much future for this England manager upon his appointment:

I wish Lancaster well, but like Martin Johnson before him, there is negligible evidence that he will be a successful England coach.

No, this was selection by majority rule. Everyone was shouting for the red rose of Lancaster.

The players, knowing that their jobs were most secure with Lancaster, inevitably sided with the new coach. 

It is that last sentence which is the most telling of all. Lancaster is building a team full of clones. My way or the highway.

That's no way to run the England rugby team.