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Debate over Lancaster rages on

2015-10-06 08:07
Stuart Lancaster (Gallo)

London- The fallout from England's World Cup demise continued on Monday with a nation coming to terms with their pool stage exit amid hot debate over coach Stuart Lancaster's future.

Lancaster's position, and that of his coaching team, will not be decided until after their final pool game against Uruguay this weekend but the soul-searching from Saturday's costly defeat by Australia, a week after their capitulation against Wales, has begun in earnest.

Amid the stinging media criticism and apologies from players and management, England's defence coach Andy Farrell found himself in the firing line after suggestions, said to have come from forward Billy Vunipola, that he had too much influence on team selection.

The heavily bearded Farrell rebuffed such talk in backing Lancaster and urged the RFU to keep him in charge.

"The four of us as coaches get together and have discussions and ultimately Stuart makes the call and we all buy into that," he told reporters.

"We've lost two games and people will try to define us by those two games but what Stuart has built is more than that.

"This whole campaign and the three and a half years of his leadership has been built on rock solid foundations. He has done marvellous things for this country and this rugby team."

Japan coach Eddie Jones weighed into the debate in his Daily Mail column, saying Lancaster was entitled to a "proper review". But that did not stop the Australian lining himself up as a possible replacement.

"If England approached me, would I listen to them? Of course I would, but whether the RFU part ways with Stuart Lancaster is a big and difficult decision," he wrote.

England have already felt the reverberations of becoming the first former winners to go out in the pool stage when they slumped to eighth in the latest world rankings, equalling their lowest ever position.

There could also be repercussions from governing body World Rugby who said in a statement on Monday they were probing an alleged "breach of the match-day communications protocol" by the England coaching team during the 33-13 loss to Australia.

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