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England to attack like Catt

Fri, 07 Sep 2012 20:35
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Mike made a big impression in South Africa
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Mike Catt has been appointed as England's new attacking skills coach, the Rugby Football Union announced Friday.

South Africa-born Catt, capped 75 times by England in a variety of positions in the backs, will work under head coach Stuart Lancaster and alongside backs specialist Andy Farrell and forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

Catt got the role after impressing in a caretaker capacity during England's recent tour of South Africa when Farrell had initially decided to stay with Saracens following his then temporary secondment to the national side during the 2012 Six Nations.

However, both former England backs will now be members of the permanent coaching team with 40-year-old Catt also responsible for developing the skills of younger players in the reserve Saxons set-up.

"Mike made a big impression in South Africa, both on the players and the management," Lancaster said.

"When we got back I asked him to outline his vision for developing not only the skills of the senior team, especially in attack, but with our younger players in the Saxons.

"Having played at the highest level for many years and developed his coaching during his time at London Irish he has a clear plan for developing these skills."

Catt, who has signed a two-year deal, added: "I loved working with the squad in South Africa and, while gutted not to win the series, I can see that this group of players is heading in the right direction.

"Stuart, Graham and Andy did a fantastic job in the Six Nations [when England finished runners-up to Grand Slam champions Wales] and to be able to work with them and the best players in England is a great honour."

Catt left London Irish at the end of last season but there was a delay in his full-time addition to the England set-up as he had two years left on his contract with the Premiership side.

"I'd like to thank London Irish for reaching a compromise with us and allowing Mike to start immediately," Lancaster said.

"We have always been an integrated coaching team covering all areas of the game and Mike will be a great addition alongside Graham and Andy.

"We have a massive challenge ahead of us with the QBE internationals in November but beyond that we need to ensure we have the highest standards across all our representative teams and programmes and Mike will help deliver those."

England lost the Test series in South Africa 2-0 but drew the third Test in Port Elizabeth -- Catt's birthplace.

This November they face South Africa, Fiji, Australia and world champions New Zealand at Twickenham.

The draw for the 2015 World Cup follows on December 3 and hosts England will need to retain their top four position in the International Rugby Board rankings if they are to be seeded and, avoid one of the game's 'big guns', in the pool phase in three years' time.

AFP

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