As Stuart Lancaster looks back on his first 25 games in charge of England, he can point to a vast improvement from the shambles he inherited after the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
England had been dumped out of the tournament in a 19-12 defeat by France, and their players’ attitudes were coming under question with reports of mid-tournament nights out and impromptu swims off the back of moving vessels.
Great player though Martin Johnson had been, his tenure as the manager of the national side was disastrous.
Step forward a quietly spoken northerner, asked to mind the shop while the RFU courted the world’s biggest names in coaching. Stuart Lancaster picked up the wilting petals of the Red Rose and began to bring it back to life.
As the games of his interim appointment ticked by, the results continued to come, the "culture" of the side appeared to be changing and, following a Six Nations campaign in 2012 that brought three away wins and a second-place finish, the name no one had mentioned before he was given the role temporarily was now set in stone.
Lancaster was England’s man and England were fast becoming his team. There have been bumps in the road—defeats to all of the big three from down south and that harrowing night in Cardiff—but there is much more to be impressed with than to question.
In particular, there have been some performances for the ages from Lancaster’s England, matches those who were there will recount to their kids in years to come.
These are Lancaster’s famous five.