STUART LANCASTER has bit back at Jim Telfer’s jibe that England are arrogant and insisted: “It is not in our culture”.
Telfer, the former Scotland coach, lit the blue touch paper ahead of tomorrow’s Calcutta Cup showdown at Twickenham by accusing England of being arrogant, condescending and pretentious.
Lancaster accepted it was an accusation that could have been fairly levelled at previous England teams – but not at his.
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“It is not in our culture, it is not what we believe in,” Lancaster said.
“It might have been in the past but that is no resemblance to the team I am working with.
“As head coach, I don’t want to be perceived as an arrogant person or an arrogant team.”
Telfer told the Daily Mail that England are not as good as they think they are following their record 38-21 victory over world champions New Zealand.
“They are too arrogant, too pretentious and too condescending to realise they have a problem,” he said.
Chris Ashton, Danny Care, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi were named as “very impressionable”
players who let the All Blacks win go to their heads.
Ashton’s swallow dive tryscoring celebration divides opinion while Tuilagi was accused of showboating as he sauntered in for England’s third try against the All Blacks.
Lancaster said: “I don’t call celebrating a try showboating.
“If you remember I took Manu off almost immediately after his try because the call came from the physio that he was absolutely exhausted. It is not in his nature.”
The England management have worked hard over the past 12 months to eradicate any sense of arrogance from the national team.
Lancaster’s first aim when he took interim charge of the England squad was to reconnect the national team to their roots.
In the wake of the 2011 Rugby World Cup disappointments, Lancaster wanted to restore a sense of pride in the jersey from within the squad and a sense of pride in the England team from the public.
England now prepare for the RBS 6 Nations in Leeds rather than in Portugal. They drew 6,000 to an open training session at Headingley and Lancaster last Friday held a seminar for 500 grassroots coaches.
Telfer’s comments have certainly stoked the boiler ahead of tomorrow’s Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham, where Scotland have not won in 30 years.
“He’s Scottish isn’t he, very passionate about his country and he wants to give his lads as much belief as he can,”
Lancaster’s assistant Andy Farrell said earlier in the week.
‘‘It is him trying to do the right thing by his own country, to try and motivate them.’