England job worth R12m
London - Stuart Lancaster, who was appointed England's interim head coach after Martin Johnson’s departure in November, and former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett had their second and final interviews for the role on Thursday.
According to The Telegraph website, it is understood the successful candidate can expect to receive a financial package worth around £350 000-a-year (R4.2m), for three years, up from the £320 000 that Johnson is believed to have earned during his tenure of three and a half years.
It is understood that the five-man Professional Game Board panel, tasked with interviewing both candidates, would meet again on Friday to finalise their recommendation, which must be approved by the Rugby Football Union board of directors.
The panel are chaired by the RFU’s new chief executive, Ian Ritchie, and includes Sir Ian McGeehan and Conor O’Shea, the respective directors of rugby at Bath and Harlequins, former England flank Richard Hill and the RFU’s professional game director, Rob Andrew.
The final call, however, will be made by Ritchie, despite the fact that he only took up his position last month as the permanent successor to John Steele.
It is understood no other candidates are being considered after Jake White, the former South Africa coach, withdrew two weeks ago.
Mallett, who had previously been linked with a position at Bath next season, and Lancaster are thought to have attended an undisclosed location on Thursday for their interviews, at which they were asked to outline how they would do the job and with whom they would do it.
Meanwhile, it also looks almost certain that former New Zealand Rugby World Cup-winning assistant coach Wayne Smith will play a key role in the new England management structure no matter who is appointed as head coach.
It is thought that both Lancaster and Mallett would be keen to work with Smith, who is renowned as one of the world’s leading attack coaches.
The fact one-third of the All Blacks’ brain trust who won the World Cup is keen on a role with England, is also certain to make the RFU independently keen to hire his services.