England head coach Stuart Lancaster has been handed a new six-year contract with the Rugby Football Union until 2020 less than a year out from the World Cup on home soil.

Lancaster and his coaching team of Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and Mike Catt have been rewarded with bumper new deals following rapid progression since their appointment in March 2012.

The head coach has guided England to three successive second-place finishes in the Six Nations and to a home victory over world champions New Zealand as well as to fourth in the IRB world rankings.

"It's great that the RFU have got faith in us as a coaching group and its support has been critical to what we have achieved to date," the Leeds-born coach said.

"While our focus is on the QBE International against New Zealand and the 2015 World Cup on home soil will be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity, we want to build a team for England Rugby that leads into Japan in 2019 and beyond.

"We believe that England Rugby is moving in the right direction, we have the right coaching and management team to do take us forward and are excited about the challenge ahead."

The 44-year-old has earned particular credit for implementing a new brand of entertaining rugby within the England setup, which has been supplemented by a number of impressive young players.

Despite currently being second favourites to win the World Cup, behind New Zealand, the deal represents a significant gamble by the RFU, given the difficult pool the hosts have been drawn in.

England face Wales and Australia in Pool A and though they have recorded wins at Twickenham in both of their last outings, the new contract could yet backfire on England rugby's governing body.

"We are lucky to have a talented, committed and passionate coaching group," RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said.

"Coaching at international level is unique in that the time Stuart and the coaches have with the players is limited and in that regard it requires a special and stable coaching team.

"We therefore felt it important to secure their long-term future and we believe this is entirely the right decision for the future of England Rugby."

The new deal will see Lancaster remain as coach until after the 2019 World Cup in Japan, which is perceived as the best opportunity for the country to add to their sole major victory in 2003.