Ex-All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick expects England revival

Sean Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick won the 1987 World Cup with New Zealand

Former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick says England can come back and become a force in international rugby again.

Fitzpatrick also believes that finances should not be an issue for the Rugby Football Union when it comes to appointing a new permanent coach.

"If you have the resources to buy the best people I don't know why you wouldn't do that," he said.

"Coaches at the highest level are very hard to find."

Fitzpatrick, who represented the All Blacks 92 times from 1986 to 1997, has also backed his fellow countryman Wayne Smith, former New Zealand attack coach, or former Italy and South Africa coach Nick Mallett to take the England role full-time.

"You need a manager to deal with the wider issues off the pitch but you also need world-class coaches," he said.

"There are a few world-class coaches who are out there who haven't got jobs and I'm sure they are being spoken to. You need to pick the best people. There are not many of them.

"Nick Mallett would be a definite candidate and Wayne Smith is out there also - two names that you wouldn't go too far wrong with."

The former star hooker is also confident that interim head coach Stuart Lancaster and his team of Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell can help steady the England ship after their poor World Cup performance, which saw them exit at the quarter-final stage and suffer a host of off-field problems.

"It is not about thinking what's wrong with English rugby, but what they need to do to get better," Fitzpatrick added.

"New Zealand got knocked out in the World Cup in 2007. You have to stand back and say 'we made mistakes - where do we go, how do we get there and who are the right people in the right positions?'

"In 2007 Graham Henry held up his hands and admitted he had make mistakes and said he was willing to change. England needs to change in certain areas.

"The scary thing, as a New Zealander, is that England has such wonderful resources - a lot of money and real talent throughout the grades and the young guys doing really well.

"England now has the opportunity to get it right and put the right people in."

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