Lancaster wants end to Europe row

Andover Advertiser: Stuart Lancaster Stuart Lancaster

Top-level European club knock-out rugby is an important part of England's preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015, according to boss Stuart Lancaster.

England head coach Lancaster hopes the long-term wrangling over the future of the Heineken Cup can come to a swift resolution.

English and French clubs signalled their intent to leave the European Rugby Cup-led Heineken Cup as far back as July 2012.

Existing contracts for the tournament expire this summer, with Aviva Premiership clubs still pushing their rival Rugby Champions Cup.

The International Rugby Board stepped into the saga this week, bidding to secure a future for a pan-European club tournament.

Lancaster hopes that move has sparked a potential continent-wide peace.

"I think if we had a choice we'd rather they played in Europe, no doubt about it," Lancaster said.

"We'll just have to wait to see how it plays out.

"I'm aware of what's going on but I'm not directly involved.

"It could be a blow if the competition doesn't come to pass, but it's too early to say and we'll just have to wait and see because no one knows yet what will happen."

Former Leeds coach Lancaster wants to see his England stars continue to take on Europe's elite next season and beyond.

Lancaster ushered a host of young, exciting backs into his RBS 6 Nations squad, to account for a raft of injuries but also with one eye on 2015.

The England boss knows the best and fastest way for talented youngsters like Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson and Jonny May to flourish is through the toughest and most consistent challenges with their clubs.

And he believes that includes first-class European action.

"From my personal point of view I would hope it does get resolved," he said. "Look at the games this weekend, they are all exciting.

"You've got players playing at the highest level in games where the result really does matter.

"You can't afford to lose one or two games in Europe and not expect to qualify.

"So certainly that's the RFU and my position as well.

"But as to how it plays out, like everyone else I'll just have to wait and see."

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