Lancaster: ‘I’ll never get over this’

Date published: October 5 2015

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster has conceded that the scars of his side's early exit from the World Cup are likely to be with him forever.

Defeat to Australia on Saturday meant that England became the first single host nation to not make it through the group stages of the World Cup they were hosting, with England set to finish behind the Wallabies and Wales in Group A.

England captain Chris Robshaw spoke after the weekend's defeat of how the squad felt they had let their country down, and Lancaster admitted that the disappointment will never leave him.

"I'm the head coach and we didn't get out of the pool. This is going to sit with us all forever – players, coaches, management. I don't think I'll ever come to terms with it personally because it was such a big thing," he said.

"I've had some great moments coaching England and I've had some disappointing ones, but this pales everything else into insignificance because of what the tournament means to everyone."

Lancaster faces an uncertain future after his side's elimination, and while the 45-year-old has said that he will not rush into making a decision on whether or not to step aside, he has made no attempt to sidestep shouldering responsibility for the result.

"We lost two games, but they were crucial games and ultimately that let us down," he explained. 

"It came down to the decision-making towards the end of the Wales game and some accuracy and execution at the end of the Australia game. That's what we'll be judged on and I understand that.

"I need some time, obviously and the RFU does as well. I think we'll make the right decision at the right time."

In the aftermath of the early exit there have been reports of a division within England's coaching team, which comprises of Lancaster, defence coach Andy Farrell, attacking skills coach Mike Catt and forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

According to reports, Farrell, father of fly-half Owen, held too much of an influence on his son's selection which created friction. The decisions to drop George Ford in favour of Farrell for the loss to Wales, and the selection of Sam Burgess in both the starting line-up and final 31-man World Cup squad, that have been scrutinised.

However, Lancaster flatly denied any suggestions that there is a division in the camp.

“Let’s put that one to bed to start with. The decisions we make on selection are collective and they’re ultimately mine and my responsibility,” he said. 

“I thought Owen played really well in the first half in this game and George is a great player as well. The 10-12 option we ended up with in the second half looked very good as well. 

"There’s no division in the coaching team and there’s not anything that needs to be looked into in that regard. It’s my decision on selection finally.”

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