Rob Baxter to join England staff for summer tour

26th March 2013

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter and Saracens defence coach Paul Gustard are to join Stuart Lancaster's England set-up for the tour of Argentina in June.

They will fill the void left by Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree, who will be with Warren Gatland's British & Irish Lions coaching team in Australia.

Baxter, 42, took Exeter to fifth in the Premiership last season and was voted director of rugby of the year.

Gustard, 37, has been on the staff at Saracens since 2008.

The former Leicester, London Irish and Saracens flanker will remain with the Premiership leaders until their likely involvement in the play-offs - potentially including the final on 25 May, the day before England's pre-tour game against the Barbarians at Twickenham - is over.

"It's obviously a great honour to be asked to assist in the preparation of the England squad," he said. "I am grateful to Saracens for giving me the opportunity to continue my development as a coach at national level."

Baxter served Exeter, who currently sit eighth in the Premiership, as a player for 14 years, 10 of them as captain, before joining the coaching staff in 2006. He oversaw their debut Heineken Cup campaign this season after guiding them to eighth and fifth-place finishes following promotion to the top flight.

"I see it as a fantastic opportunity for me to do what we keep saying to the players here at the club, which is to keep learning, keep doing better and experience new things," he said.

"This is a great chance for me to experience something different, learn from other coaches such as Stuart, Mike Catt and Paul (Gustard) and work with some different players."

England head coach Stuart Lancaster added: "It was important that we found two coaches who could mirror the skill set of Graham (Rowntree) and Andy (Farrell) while they are away and come in and keep developing the players within our system.

"Paul, having worked together with Andy at Saracens, already has a good understanding of how we operate and Rob, who has done a great job in developing a very competitive Exeter pack, will pick up the set piece and breakdown."