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November 12, 2015

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Lancaster pays the price for England’s RWC fiasco

STUART Lancaster has stepped down as England head coach by “mutual consent”, England’s Rugby Football Union announced yesterday.

Lancaster’s departure, three and a half years after his appointment, was expected in the light of England’s disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign, which saw the hosts eliminated in the group phase.

“I am obviously extremely saddened to finish the way we did in this World Cup and to step down from the role,” Lancaster said in a statement released by the RFU. “As I have always said, I ultimately accept and take responsibility for the team’s performance and we have not delivered the results we all hoped for during this tournament.”

Appointed in April 2012, Lancaster, 46, led England to four successive second-place finishes in the Six Nations championship, but this year’s RWC was always his primary objective.

It proved a spectacular failure, with England crashing out following defeats by Wales and Australia, while Lancaster faced strong criticism for unsuccessful selection gambles such as his decision to place his faith in rugby league convert Sam Burgess.

“The Rugby World Cup was hugely disappointing for everyone associated with the England team and the subsequent review into the team’s performance was always intended to be extremely comprehensive, which it has been,” said RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie.

“Following the review, Stuart and I met, where we agreed that he should step down as head coach.”

Ritchie will now lead the search for Lancaster’s successor, which the RFU said would begin “immediately”.


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