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'I want players to be comfortable in chaotic scenarios' | Lancaster's mantra

Eoin Harte
Eoin Harte

04:33 26 Nov 2019

Teaching players how to deal with chaotic environments is crucial in creating a successful team, according to Stuart Lancaster.

The Leinster senior coach was speaking to Off The Ball on episode six of 'Leaders' Questions' and revealed how he inspires the confidence in his players to make decisions themselves.

“As a coach, it’s not like it’s American Football where you can control the game once it starts.

“So you very much empower the players and give them as much support and education and belief that you can put in them before the game starts.

“So that they can deal with the complexity of games as they unfold in any one game or any one season.

“At Leinster what I try to do is create as many environments and as many scenarios during the course of the week to make it almost as chaotic as possible so that they become comfortable in dealing with different scenarios getting thrown at them,” Lancaster explained.

The former England head coach revealed that things were very different at Leinster when he arrived on the scene and that he immediately went about changing the club’s culture.

“I think when I first came in it was very alien to them because it was very structured. There was a very structured way in how the game was built.

“They found it quite uncomfortable to start with. But the more we did it in training, the way we learnt from games the more adaptable they became and we could recognise a problem and deal with the problem on the field,” Lancaster said.

While the new way of thinking at Leinster wasn’t an immediate roaring success, it wasn’t long before they started to have success with the new coaching environment.

“Now, in the first year obviously we lost in two semi-finals so we certainly didn’t have all the answers but when we referred back to the [2018] Champions Cup final, as an example, we went 12-9 down with about 12 minutes to go.

“We drew back to 12-all on 73 minutes and we got the winning penalty on 78 minutes and 30 seconds. So we won and then [Racing 92] had a drop goal in the final play to draw.

“But that was the real evolution in the group at the time that they could deal with such intensity and such pressure and still deliver in the moment,” Lancaster said.

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Goal Global Leaders Questions Leinster Rugby Stuart Lancaster

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