Lancaster steps down from England role


Stuart Lancaster has resigned from his role as England head coach following their calamitous pool-stage exit at the Rugby World Cup on home soil.

The 46-year-old's position came under scrutiny after England became the first host nation not to qualify for the knockout stages of a World Cup - defeats to Wales and Australia sending them crashing out before the end of the Pool A campaign.

Just over a month since a 33-13 reverse at Twickenham against the Wallabies sealed England's fate, the Rugby Football Union revealed on Wednesday that the head coach had departed by mutual consent.

"I am obviously extremely saddened to finish the way we did in this World Cup and to step down from the role," Lancaster said. 

"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. 
I did, however, want to take part in the review to ensure I understood the views of others before making a decision. 

"The reality is that, while many aspects of the review were very positive, we didn't achieve success on the field when it mattered and we all have to take responsibility for that but me especially as head coach."

He added: "I took on the role in difficult circumstances and it has been a huge challenge to transition the team with many hurdles along the way. However, I am immensely proud of the development of this team and I know that there is an incredibly strong foundation for them to progress to great things in the future. 

"We have played some excellent rugby and it was always going to be tough to get the right level of experience into them in time for 2015. It is a young group of players with the huge majority available for the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019, where I believe their recent experience will make them genuine contenders."

Australia coach Michael Cheika and Eddie Jones - who led Japan to a stunning pool win over South Africa - have been linked with the role, which RFU CEO Ian Ritchie has been tasked with filling.