Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Just how good was Stuart Lancaster?

by Kristian Ross

So the inevitable has happened, Stuart Lancaster will not continue in his post of England Rugby head coach after stepping down earlier today.

Following a disastrous RWC2015 in which England became the first home nation to exit at the pool stage, Lancaster’s side was clearly fraught with in-fighting, with Mike Brown’s revelation yesterday summing up the entire tournament for the 2003 World Cup winners. But the question that really must be asked is, just how good was Stuart Lancaster?

Many kind words have been posted on various social media sites today regarding Lancaster’s integrity and passion during his role at the RFU. No doubt that the man was incredibly likeable and always showed a level of respect for the team and staff around him. 

But it must be said, whilst many cast a fond gaze over the Cumbrian, he was the man who picked Sam Burgess for the Rugby World Cup along with a series of other selections that according to many, simply made no sense. You must now feel sorry for Burgess, having been thrown into an England jersey when he clearly wasn’t ready, he is the one that whilst although he didn’t perform on the pitch, was picked by Lancaster for the tournament.

Whilst many feel that Lancaster’s tenure furthered the England side, questions must be asked about the forty-seven year old's record. Lancaster never won a trophy in his four years, missing out on the Six Nations and being eclipsed his southern hemisphere counterparts in Cardiff and Dublin. Clearly he brought something to the English setup, on many occasions did the side produce some great performances, but even Lancaster’s previous doesn’t set the world alight. Aside from winning the second tier of English Rugby with Leeds Carnegie, he had never coached at a level anywhere near the prestige of the international game.

With the post mortem now fully in motion, the Rugby Football Union must deliver a coach with experience behind him, whilst Stuart Lancaster rues just what might have been if the Rugby World Cup had gone oh so differently...

 @Kristian7Ross - 21, Geordie, part time journalist and Irish Rugby fan.


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Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019