England's Stuart Lancaster, Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell in profile

By Arindam RejBBC Sport
Stuart Lancaster
Lancaster has been coaching England Saxons for three years

In a climate of chaos, Stuart Lancaster and his assistants Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell have been handed the unenviable task of reuniting an England set-up beset by controversy and pulled apart by in-fighting.

They will oversee the 2012 Six Nations campaign, while the search for the ideal man to lead England long-term continues.

Trouble on and off the field led to , while leaks to the public have exposed divisive issues within a group who have been castigated for their tame World Cup quarter-final exit.

Both Lancaster and Rowntree are already close to the camp but, unlike so many colleagues, they have emerged from the recent troubles with their reputations enhanced rather than tainted.

Farrell, who has been seconded from the coaching staff of Premiership side Saracens, is a welcome addition from outside the environment.

Lancaster is the coach of the national side's second string, England Saxons, who have won nine out of 10 matches under his control and picked up three Churchill Cups external-linkon the way.

Lancaster, who coached an England XV against the Barbarians in June, was appointed the Rugby Football Union's head of elite player development in 2008 and has been in charge of the Saxons during the same period.

His close contact with - and understanding of - the young talents in the English game makes him well suited to guiding the country's up-and-coming players during this difficult period.

The former PE teacher has a reputation for being popular with players and operating reliably and without fuss.

Lancaster, who was a flanker in his playing days, captained Leeds before retiring in 2000. He then took charge of the Tykes' academy for five years - developing future England players such as Danny Care - before becoming the club's director of rugby.

He ended a 16-year association with the Yorkshire club when he took up his England role three years ago.

Rowntree was appointed England scrummaging coach by Johnson in August 2008 and then handed the same role with the Lions for the 2009 tour to South Africa.

In the leaked reviews into England's World Cup campaign, which were highly damaging for most other England coaches, Rowntree emerged with much credit. He was seen as a man who both players and management could confide in, and appears more at ease in front of the media than Johnson did.

Former Leicester prop Rowntree spent his entire playing career with the Tigers, from 1990 to 2007. He earned 54 England caps, winning two Grand Slams, and featured twice for the Lions in 2005 against New Zealand.

Farrell won 34 caps with the Great Britain rugby league team, becoming the youngest-ever captain at 21 as well as making 370 appearances for his club side Wigan, where he won five championships and four Challenge Cups.

The 36-year-old moved to rugby union on a contract with Saracens and the RFU in 2005, winning eight caps in 2007 and scoring his only Test try on his last appearance in an England shirt, against Tonga in the World Cup.

After he retired from playing in April 2009, he worked as Saracens skills coach before assisting Lancaster with the England Saxons in the 2010 Churchill Cup and then helping Saracens to the 2011 Premiership title in his first season as first-team coach.

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