In Depth

Lancaster quits England rugby job: good but not good enough

Foreign coach likely as Lancaster steps down in the wake of England's Rugby World Cup disaster and the Sam Burgess affair

"Good but not good enough" appears to be the verdict on Stuart Lancaster after England's beleagured rugby coach bowed to the inevitable and stood down, a month after England became the first World Cup hosts to be knocked out of the tournament at the group stage.

Since then his reputation has taken a further battering through leaked tales of disaffection within the camp, and the decision of Sam Burgess, Lancaster's high profile recruit from rugby league and the focus of many of his misfortunes, to quit the 15-man game and return to his lucrative career playing rugby league in Australia.

That, and the prospect of a high-profile review of England's dismal World Cup campaign has "cast Lancaster in a far darker light than he merited", says Mick Cleary of the Daily Telegraph.

"England's campaign was disastrous in terms of results: Lancaster's tenure has not been," he adds. "It has not been a triumph, with four successive runners-up slots in the Six Nations, but it did succeed in revitalising the sense of a national team.

"Lancaster proved to be a good manager. But he has come up short as a top-ranked coach, of the calibre of a Steve Hansen or a Michael Cheika, an Eddie Jones or a Warren Gatland."

He made things happen, most notably when England destroyed the All Blacks in 2012, but not often enough.

News of Lancaster's departure was swiftly followed by speculation about who will replace him, with most observers predicting that England would turn to an overseas coach for the first time in their history.

"Name a qualified English coach who could take over and do a better job?" said BBC commentator Ian Robertson. "I can't name you one. If for the first time ever England go for a foreign coach the obvious answer is Eddie Jones, who took Japan to three wins out of four – including beating South Africa."

The Daily Mail's shortlist of candidates features only one Englishman, Rob Baxter, boss of the Exeter Chiefs. The other names it says are in the frame are Jones, New Zealander Wayne Smith, South African Jake White, who guided the Springboks to glory in 2007, and current Australia chief Mike Cheika.

Harlequins' Irish head coach Conor O'Shea has also been mooted as have Englishmen Jim Mallinder of Northampton and Bath's Mike Ford.

World Cup fall out: Mike Brown turns on England rugby mole

11 November

Sam Burgess has come under fire for his decision to quit rugby union and return to league in the wake of England's World Cup humiliation, but at least the former Bath player won't have to be there next time the England squad meets up. If full back Mike Brown is to be believed, it's likely to be an awkward encounter .

The 30-year-old has made it clear he was fed up with reading negative stories about England's doomed World Cup campaign and admitted that the next time the players convened it would be "difficult" because the trust between team-mates had been "completely shot" in the wake of their Rugby World Cup humiliation, which has been accompanied by a slew of allegations from within the camp.

He added that when he found out the identity of the mole in the England dressing room he would "be one of the first people to speak to them".

Warming to his theme, the Harlequin's player told the Daily Telegraph. "It is going to be hard for me to call anyone team-mates until we meet up. Yes, it is going to be tough. Everything good is built on trust... There is no trust [with England] now, as far as I am concerned."

Brown is "disillusioned with his international colleagues, who had pledged not to break ranks publicly in the wake of their World Cup disappointment", reports The Guardian. He is particularly upset over a story that appeared in the Sun on Sunday about players taking ill-advised share tips before the World Cup from their kit man, Dave Tennison.

The upshot of all the bad blood, says the paper, is that "urgent action must be taken to restore confidence in the England set-up".

Adding to an "increasingly ugly" mood is the reaction to Burgess's decision to return to league. According to Bath head coach Mike Ford, Burgess "didn't have the stomach" to stay and fight for his career in union.

England fly-half George Ford, the son of Mike and a former team mate of Burgess, joined the criticism. He said he was "massively disappointed" and added that players at Bath had "sacrificed a lot" for Burgess, who has now returned to Australia to play in the NRL.

"To become a world-class player in rugby union, you've got to put in the hard graft and it does take time. It doesn't come overnight. It's just whether you want to do it or not," he said.

"Good but not goodenough" appears to be the verdict on Stuart Lancaster after England'sbeleagured rugby coach bowed to the inevitable and stood down, a month afterEngland became the first World Cup hosts to be knocked out of the tournament atthe group stage.

Since then his reputation hastaken a further battering through leaked tales of disaffection within the camp,and the decision of Sam Burgess, Lancaster's high profile recruit from rugbyleague and the focus of many of his misfortunes, to quit the 15-man game andreturn to his lucrative career playing rugby league in Australia.

That, and the prospect of ahigh-profile review of England's dismal World Cup campaign has "castLancaster in a far darker light than he merited", says Mick Cleary of theDaily Telegraph.

"England's campaign wasdisastrous in terms of results: Lancaster's tenure has not been," he adds."It has not been a triumph, with four successive runners-up slots in theSix Nations, but it did succeed in revitalising the sense of a national team.

"Lancaster proved to be agood manager. But he has come up short as a top-ranked coach, of the calibre ofa Steve Hansen or a Michael Cheika, an Eddie Jones or a Warren Gatland."

He made things happen, mostnotably when England destroyed the All Blacks in 2012, but not often enough.

News of Lancaster's departure wasswiftly followed by speculation about who will replace him, with most observerspredicting that England would turn to an overseas coach for the first time intheir history.

"Name a qualified Englishcoach who could take over and do a better job?" said BBC commentator IanRobertson. "I can't name you one. If for the first time ever England gofor a foreign coach the obvious answer is Eddie Jones, who took Japan to threewins out of four – including beating South Africa."

The Daily Mail's shortlist ofcandidates features only one Englishman, Rob Baxter, boss of the Exeter Chiefs.The other names it says are in the frame are Jones, New Zealander Wayne Smith,South African Jake White, who guided the Springboks to glory in 2007, andcurrent Australia chief Mike Cheika.

Harlequins' Irish head coach ConorO'Shea has also been mooted as have Englishmen Jim Mallinder of Northampton andBath's Mike Ford.

[1]

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/england/11988693/Stuart-Lancaster-is-an-honourable-man-and-was-a-good-England-coach-but-he-fell-short-when-it-really-mattered.html

[2]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/34500716

[3]

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-3313737/England-rugby-coach-contenders-Two-World-Cup-winners-exciting-Premiership-boss-make-shortlist-replace-Stuart-Lancaster.html

TAGS:

Stuart Lancaster, England rugbyteam, Sam Burgess, Jake White, Eddie Jones, Mike Ford, Jim Mallinder, RugbyWorld Cup 2015

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