Monday 11 December 2017

England will wait before making a decision on Stuart Lancaster's future

Stuart Lancaster
Stuart Lancaster

England will not rush into any hasty decisions over the future of head coach Stuart Lancaster after making their Rugby World Cup exit at the pool stage, Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said yesterday.

The tournament hosts cannot reach the last eight from Pool A after Australia applied the killer blow with Saturday's 33-13 win at Twickenham, a week after Wales had drawn first blood with their momentous victory over England.

"This isn't a time for any knee-jerk reaction," Ritchie told a news conference.

"This isn't a time to rush into things, it's a time for calm, rational, considered reflection about what can we learn, how can we move forward, what can we do to improve.

"And we'll only do that in a calm, considered and rational manner."

The 2003 winners' failure to advance beyond the group stage for the first time left a "sense of deep disappointment", Ritchie said. "The first thing that happens next is that there's a game next week against Uruguay and we need to focus on that," he added.

Last year the RFU handed Lancaster and his coaching team new contracts until 2020, with Ritchie saying at the time that England "are lucky to have a talented, committed and passionate coaching group".

Lancaster, who became permanent head coach after initially taking over from Martin Johnson as interim boss following England's poor showing at the 2011 World Cup, said his immediate focus was on Uruguay.

"The accountability and responsibility lies with me. Family is a big thing, also what's right for England and what's right for the team. All that will come into the equation, but 12 hours after the final whistle, that's not for now," he told reporters.

"All things are being considered, but not for now for me. I sat in front of the management team at the hotel and said we've got a game to play on Saturday. I need to get the team ready to play Uruguay on Saturday and that's my priority."

Reflecting on the defeats against their Pool A rivals, Lancaster said: "Looking back, I think the Wales game -- being 22-12 up 60 minutes, 50-odd minutes in and then not to come away with a win -- really put us under pressure in this particular game. In this game it was small margins and big consequences." (Reporting by Justin Palmer; Editing by David Goodman)

Mike Brown has apologised to England supporters for the host nation's elimination.

England created some unwanted history in becoming the first host nation not to make it out of the pool stage of the competition.

Brown felt he and his team-mates had let the country down and thanked the home fans for their support.

The 30-year-old Harlequins full-back said on Twitter: "I'm absolutely gutted for what's happened. We put so much hard work in, some of us for four years, and to go out like this is devastating.

"Your support has been incredible and you deserve better from us. We know there will be criticism which we will take on the chin.

"But please know, to a man, we have given everything we have in preparation and in the games. On the day we weren't good enough, we know that and it hurts.

"We make no excuses and will take the criticism given to us.

"For us now it's about being professional and finishing the tournament in the right way in our last RWC15 game.

"Hopefully the guys lucky enough to take the field on Saturday can leave you with something to be proud of.

"Once again to all of the England rugby supporters thank you for your unbelievable support to me personally and to the team. I appreciate it so much.

"Messages, words in person, on social media and cheering for us at all the games, you've been amazing! Sorry we couldn't be better for you."

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