Interim coach hoping to press home job claims with Irish success
Stuart Lancaster has described the England coach's position as his "dream job" and admits it is his ultimate aim to be appointed full-time.
Lancaster picked up the reins on an interim basis following England's World Cup debacle and he has succeeded in restoring a sense of pride in the national team.
The former Leeds director of rugby has also produced results, guiding England to three successive away victories for the first time in the championship, including a landmark 24-22 triumph over France.
David Strettle's return from a chest injury is the only starting change from the Paris victory for Saturday's Six Nations finale, in what could also prove to be Lancaster's last match in charge.
The Rugby Football Union are currently weighing up Lancaster's bid to lead England into the 2015 World Cup with that, it is thought, of the more experienced former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett.
This time last year Martin Johnson described the England job as "addictive" - and Lancaster would clearly find it hard to let go of the tiller if the RFU decided they wanted a more experience man in charge.
"It is a fantastic coaching job," Lancaster said.
"If you ask any coach in any sport in any country 'what is the ultimate aim?' it is coach in your sport the national team.
"To that end it is the dream job. What I enjoy most is working with people, helping them improve and building teams and you are doing that at the highest level."
When England won in Paris, Lancaster received 140 congratulatory text messages, three of them from former national coaches Sir Clive Woodward, Brian Ashton and Martin Johnson.
But it was only this week, when he bumped into the other dads on the school run, that Lancaster began to recognise the scale of the public support for him to continue at the helm.
"I drove back home on Tuesday night so I could take the kids to school the next morning and it was only then that I realised some of the things that have been said and the impact it has had on people," Lancaster said.
"You are in a little bubble here and you tend not to think too much about what's going on in the outside world because you are so consumed with trying to manage so many different things.
"You get people who have never watched rugby before suddenly supporting the England rugby team.
"It was a very short visit but I felt different when I came back in to the England camp.
"I am pretty grounded as a person and I tend not to get too carried away. I do have internal self-belief, but it's nice to have the praise - but I feel the praise should be reflected more to the team than myself."
Lancaster's approach to his interim tenure as England coach has been to begin the project of building a team that can win the 2015 World Cup.
The likes of Owen Farrell and Ben Morgan have made their Test debuts during the championship and have already established themselves in the starting line-up.
"We are definitely heading in the right direction. Irrespective of what happens to the coaching team they can see that the South Africa tour is coming around the corner," Lancaster said.
"You are trying to paint that long-term picture all the time and the ultimate long-term picture is 2015. We are moving in the right direction but there is still more to do."