THE head of English rugby has hailed St. George’s Park as a destination for coaches from different sports to gather to share ideas.
Stuart Lancaster, England Rugby Union’s head coach, recently met with England U21 Coach Stuart Pearce at the £105 million facility as his side prepared at the national football centre for their Six Nation’s clash against France at Twickenham.
“From my point of view the more we can engage and cross-fertilise, shall we call it, between football and rugby the better for both sports,” explained Lancaster, who has actively sought advice from footballing circles.
“I saw Stuart Pearce [during the stay] and he came to watch us train last week. I went to Wembley and met Roy Hodgson not too long ago.
“I had a real good chat with him and looked at the dynamics of managing the England football team and myself managing the England rugby team,” added Lancaster.
England Rugby’s head coach and his charges previously used the centre for a training camp in October last year and were clearly impressed with the facilities.
Asked to describe what the attraction of returning to the site was, Lancaster said: “I think it is the facility first and foremost. We had the snow so we were able to go on the rubber crumb [indoor pitch], which was brilliant.
“The boys have got the gym, our injured players can use the hydrotherapy pool and the pitches are a dream for a rugby player to train on. They are all like Wembley.
“So it is the whole facility and environment and you have got good accommodation here as well.”
One of the RFU’s aims is to develop their own dedicated centre in the mould of St George’s Park.
He added: “It has been a stated aim. We had a review not too long ago that has just been concluded. It basically said that one thing we are missing badly in the Rugby Football Union is a national centre of excellence and a place where coaches and international teams can go to and train.”
“It is top of the priority list. It might not come in the short term, I suspect it will come after the 2015 World Cup but at least it is in the pipeline and is something we definitely need.”
The £105 million facility was officially opened by the Prince William and Kate last October after being in gestation for more than 10 years.
England manager Roy Hodgson has also been speaking out the facility.
He said: “The £105 million facility was officially opened by the Prince William and Kate last October after being in gestation for more than 10 years.
“I’ve always railed against that argument and railed against any cuts to coach education programmes, so I’ve been disappointed that we haven’t had the same kind of facilities as the French have.
“Now, I think we have got arguably the best in the world and we can be very proud of St George’s Park.”