WORCESTER Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan is among the favourites to replace under-fire Stuart Lancaster as England head coach.
Earlier this year, Warriors president Cecil Duckworth labelled Ryan as “one of the top six directors of rugby in the world”.
Ryan is a 10-1 shot with Ladbrokes, with Northampton Saints chief Jim Mallinder at 5/1 with Paddy Power and Coral.
Bath’s Mike Ford and Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea are also seen as likely candidates by punters along with Japan’s Eddie Jones.
Former South Africa coach Jake White has declared his interest in the role.
Lancaster is under pressure after England’s failure to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
England were dumped out of the tournament after losing to Australia and Wales and have one pool game, against Uruguay, remaining on Saturday in Manchester.
Although Lancaster has a contract that runs until 2020, his long-term future appears far from certain.
Ryan, a former Gloucester head coach, arrived at Sixways in April 2013, replacing Richard Hill.
Warriors suffered relegation from the Premiership in Ryan’s first full season, winning just two league games.
But Worcester bounced back to seal promotion from the Championship and the British and Irish Cup.
Ryan has appeared on BBC Wales’ Scrum V television programme and has given his opinion on the reasons for England’s shortcomings.
Ryan, who played at number eight for England, blasted Lancaster for “muddled selection” and said he was “not a fan” of Sam Burgess’ inclusion in the national team.
He said: “I think a huge amount will happen. I have no doubt Lancaster will go.
“It depends on the clauses of his contract in reality, but I think he probably will go — and I think he has to.”
Ryan believes RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie and professional rugby director Rob Andrew must be held accountable for appointing Lancaster as Martin Johnson’s permanent successor.
Meanwhile, Warriors lock Tevita Cavubati crossed for Fiji in a 47-15 victory against Uruguay at Milton Keynes on Tuesday night.
Cavubati has replaced retired Jonathan Thomas in Warriors’ ranks and looks a useful acquisition. Cavubati crashed over for Fiji on the hour which prompted a scuffle between several players before referee JP Doyle calmed the situation.
Warriors will be looking for their first pre-season win when they travel to Northampton Saints tomorrow afternoon for a behind-closed-doors friendly.
The fixture was organised on behalf of Warriors and, ironically, the two clubs will meet at Sixways the following Friday in the Premiership’s curtain-raiser (7.45pm).
Builders are making the final touches to a new stand at Franklin’s Gardens and fans will not be allowed into the ground to watch the match.
Warriors suffered a 43-35 defeat against the Barbarians in their opening friendly, and went down 52-30 against Midlands rivals Wasps.
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