'Leaving Leinster was tough but right decision' - Stuart Lancaster

Stuart Lancaster will be joining Racing 92 as director of rugby
Stuart Lancaster will be joining Racing 92 as director of rugby

Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster revealed that it was a tough decision to leave the province as he is set to make a switch to Montpellier next season.

Lancaster started his coaching with Leeds Tykes having played for them previously between 1991 and 2000. He moved to a Elite Rugby Director role of England in 2008 before taking over the head coach role between 2011 and 2015 before he was replaced by Eddie Jones.

He joined Leinster in September 2016 and helped them win four domestic titles and a European triumph that came in 2018.

Lancaster will be joining Montpellier ahead of the 2023/24 season as director of rugby with current Racing boss Laurent Travers taking on a new role as chairman of the club's management board.

"It was very difficult to tell the players," said Lancaster.

"They obviously mean so much to me, as does Leinster. To actually say that I'm going to leave at the end of the season, it was tough.

"I thought about it for a long time and I think the time is right. The players are in a good place.

"The time we've spent together over the last six years, they've evolved from young men into fully-fledged internationals. I'm confident Leinster are in a strong place moving forward.

"That said, I still want to finish well this season."

Lancaster said the environment in Racing 92 was similar to that of Leinster which prompted him to make the move.

"Jacky Lorenzetti is a very impressive but also a very good family man," he said.

"I got a very good feel about the club, a very Leinster-type feel about the values, which is really important for me.

"The challenge of going coaching in the Top 14, playing in the big stadiums in France away from home, and obviously La Défense Arena is some stadium, coaching a new group of players and challenging myself to get my philosophy across in a foreign language - the growth that will give me as a coach is a part to play as well.

"I'm 52 now. Let's say I do four years there, 56. I'd still love to do other things beyond that as well. It opens up opportunities, maybe in the southern hemisphere or possibly back in Ireland. Who knows?"