World Cup exit haunts England coach

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LON­DON — The im­me­di­ate in­quest into England’s fail­ure to sur­vive the pool stage of their own World Cup threw up a thou­sand ques­tions about Stu­art Lan­caster’s ( pic­tured) fu­ture as head coach that were never likely to be an­swered.

But in one mourn­ful mo­ment of gutwrench­ing hon­esty, Lan­caster lifted the veil on his own emo­tional state by ad­mit­ting: “I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with this.”

Sit­ting along­side him was Ian Ritchie, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Rugby Foot­ball Union and the man who, only last year, awarded Lan­caster and his back-room team - Andy Farrell, Gra­ham Rown­tree and Mike Catt - con­tract ex­ten­sions tak­ing them be­yond d the 2019 World Cup.

Ritchie was in full “no hasty de­ci­sions”sions” mode and with good rea­son. It will takee him al­most as long to get his head round th­ese events and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing col­lat­er­alat­eral dam­age as it will take Lan­caster to re­cov­er­cover from them.

If the CEO could hardly have been lessess il­lu­mi­nat­ing on the sub­ject of what hap­pens next other than a “re­view”, Lan­caster was more forth­com­ing.

He re­fused to be drawn on his next ca­reer­a­reer move, but gave a hint of his cur­rent think-ing by say­ing: “Fam­ily is a big thing. I’mm not go­ing to make a per­sonal de­ci­sion in pub­lic, ublic, but that con­sid­er­a­tion will be part of thehe fi­nal equa­tion.”

There were long min­utes of ut­terer des­o­la­tion as the coach re­flected on the de­feats by Wales and Aus­tralia that ended England’s in­ter­est in this com­pe­ti­tion and are likely to cost the gov­ern­ing body mil­lions of pounds in com­mer­cial rev­enue.

Shortly af­ter Ritchie’s pro­nounce­ment that ev­ery­one in­volved in the game would have to “work hard to mit­i­gate what we may have lost out on”, Lan­caster ac­knowl­edged that the buck stopped with him.

“I’m the head coach and we didn’t get out of the pool,” he said. “I’m ac­count­able. It’s go­ing to sit with us all for ever - play­ers, coaches, man­age­ment - but speak­ing per­son­ally, I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with this be­cause it’s such a big thing.

“I’ve had some great mo­ments with England and some dis­ap­point­ing ones, but every­thing else pales into in­signif­i­cance be­cause of what the tour­na­ment means to ev­ery­one. That will be the over­rid­ing emo­tion for a long time, I think.

“I’m very lucky in that I’ve had some good sup­port either side of me. I look at all the lo­gis­tics and plan­ning for this World Cup and when I com­pare it to the 2011 tour­na­ment,

“I see a very strong struc­ture in place. I see good play­ers who have been de­vel­oped by good coach­esco in a good en­vi­ron­ment. But we lost twotw games, cru­cial games, and that’s how we’ll be judged. I un­der­stand that.”

Be­sides the flint-hearted process of rid­ding them them­selves of those coaches no longer con­sid­ered rel­e­vant - Ritchie ac­knowl­edged that a “no change” pol­icy was not an op­tion - and a re­cal­cu­la­tionre of the RFU’S financial pro­jec­tion­spro­jec­tion as a re­sult of bow­ing out so early, the peo­ple at the top of the gov­ern­ing body are keen tot avoid two fur­ther calami­ties.

Firstly, they do not want this soap opera to be­come a ri­val at­trac­tion to a World Cup still be­ing hosted by England, hence the in­sis­tence th that there will be no rush to blame.

Sec­ond, they want to en­sure there is no re­peat of the fall-out from 2011, when the warts-and-all­warts-and de­tail of a re­view into the team’s poorp per­for­mance on the field and ob­jec­tion­ableob­ject one off it ended up in the pub­licpub do­main. YouY can see their point. There has beenb enough em­bar­rass­ment al­ready.r — The In­de­pen­dent

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