Manchester - Embattled England rugby coach
Stuart Lancaster has come out fighting after taking heavy blows during the week
and said he backs himself on his overall record while in charge of the
humiliated World Cup hosts.
The 45-year-old - who replaced Martin
Johnson after the debacle of the 2011 World Cup which was dominated by woeful
headlines concerning the squad's off-the-pitch behaviour - added he didn't
believe the England set-up required radical changes.
Both his and captain Chris Robshaw's roles
have been cast into doubt since England suffered the ignominy of becoming the
first host nation to exit the tournament at the pool stage after defeats at
Twickenham to Wales and then Australia last Saturday.
England play their final game of the
campaign against minnows Uruguay in Manchester on Saturday.
"I didn't realise there was a category
of 'super coaches' but I take your point," said Lancaster, who has also
failed to deliver the Six Nations title in the spell he has been in charge.
"I've had 45 games in charge now so
that makes me the second most experienced England coach, I think. My win
percentage hasn't been high enough because I didn't win all the games.
"I obviously back myself. We've beaten
every international team along the way.
"But obviously you get judged on one
"For 70 minutes against Wales we were
in charge (England led by 10 points on three occasions) and we lost the game.
Against Australia, there were times we were on top. Results define coaching
decisions but there's other things I take confidence from."
Lancaster, who has been castigated for his
selection policy both for the overall squad and the match days XV, said he
thought what he had implemented concerning the structure should be retained.
"I would say no, but then I would say
that, wouldn't I?" said Lancaster. "Because I built it. Things need
to be done better, there's no doubt about it."
He also mounted a strong defence of
Robshaw, who was a surprise choice by Lancaster as captain in 2012 as he only
had one cap to his name, though as a player many have suggested he wasn't good
enough to play for England.
"Forty-odd games he's played at seven
for England and he's got man of the match, I think, in double figures,"
"At the weekend it wasn't a Robshaw
failure that (David) Pocock turned the ball over, it was a team failure.
"Pocock turned the ball over five
times, we did so three times. It's tough on him to hold one person
Lancaster, who has at least been credited
with restoring the England team's image off the pitch which was in shreds when
he took over, made light of the media blitz that has lampooned him and Robshaw
"It depends on which blizzard you read
or get involved in with your snow goggles," said Lancaster.
"I didn't need to read it to know what
was being said. Emotions were high and rightly so. Our objective was to win the
World Cup and we didn't get out of the group stages."