Dan Lancaster happy to follow in father Stuart Lancaster’s footsteps with Yorkshire Carnegie

WHEN your father is a former England head coach you could imagine life as an aspiring player may be tougher than normal but young Yorkshire Carnegie centre Dan Lancaster maintains he feels no “extra pressure.”
Making the grade: 
Dan Lancaster.Making the grade: 
Dan Lancaster.
Making the grade: Dan Lancaster.

The teenager was one of those who impressed during Sunday’s 66-13 defeat to Ealing Trailfinders when his father, Leinster head coach Stuart Lancaster, was in the stands watching on.

Lancaster, of course, has a rich history with the club himself, having played for Headingley and – following their amalgamation with Roundhay – going on to be the first player to make more than 100 appearances for Leeds Tykes.

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He then ran the Tykes RFU Academy and became the club’s head coach from 2005 to 2007 before moving on to the RFU and eventually coaching England from 2011 to 2015.

On whether that brings added pressure for him, the 18-year-old Lancaster said: “Maybe at the start when he was international manager. But I think you just get used to it.

“He’s been coaching me all my life. He’s been watching me and everyone has their own opinions.

“There’s no pressure on me. I just try and do my own thing.

“He was in the stands today. I’m sure he was proud but he’ll say the same thing as I do; we need an 80-minute performance rather than just two 40, 50-minute displays like we have put in the last two weeks.

“We need to stay up this year. That’s the goal.”

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Carnegie are yet to win this season as they continue to try and rebuild following the debilitating financial problems they hit earlier this year.

The emergence of Lancaster, though, from the club’s previous academy is one of the positives.

He showed plenty of neat touches against Ealing especially considering he spent time off the field for a head injury assessment after being high tackled.

“I’m enjoying every minute of it,” said the West Park Leeds junior, who has also represented England Under-18s squad and is studying sports coaching at Leeds Metropolitan University.

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“Since I remember rugby I was here – season-ticket holder, ball boy – so it’s just an honour to wear the shirt.

“It is tough. It’s a lot tougher as an 18 year-old. But I’m really enjoying every bit of it.

“The difference between every level you go to is speed and physicality. You have to be a lot fitter, a lot stronger. I think it comes with experience as well.

“I think it will come but I’m just happy wearing the shirt and just happy with where I am going right now.”

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Lancaster got his first taste of senior rugby at Hull Ionians last term but the No 12 is striving to make a place at Carnegie his own as the club continues to get to grips with part-time status.

He said: “At half-time and 24-13 against a team of Ealing’s quality, we thought we were right in it.

“Our discipline was much better than last week. It was just the last 20 minutes. We need to do an 80-minute performance.

“That’s where the difference is between the top end and where we are right now. So we need to put in an 80-minute performance. That is important.”

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Carnegie visit Hartpury on Saturday looking to finally get off the mark after losing their opening five Championship games.

Lancaster added: “Next week is a must-win. We need to win on Saturday.

“Hartpury had a good performance against London Scottish but we need to go there with the belief we had in that opening 40 minutes.”