Will Stewart takes a look at why England did so badly. Have your say in the poll at the bottom.
England underachieved at the World Cup. They were the first home nation to go out in the group stages of a world cup. It is also England’s earliest ever exit from a world cup. Many people picked them as potential World Cup winners before the tournament had even begun. However, a promising start against Fiji soon turned into a dismal and frankly embarrassing display by the host nation.
Lancaster picked a very average squad
In my opinion, Stuart Lancaster picked a very average 31-man squad ahead of the World Cup, with very few exciting players. I don’t see why he didn’t pick the likes of Danny Cipriani and Marland Yarde, who have played well for their club sides. He controversially picked Sam Burgess, who was in his first season in Union. Many people believe the selection of Burgess was a mistake and that he contributed to the downfall of the team. He has since quit rugby union. The centres picked for the match against Wales had never started a game together. The team itself looked very average and the fact that Wales beat England, with lots of players injured, shows the weakness of the side. Lancaster didn’t pick any flare players and he couldn’t even make up his mind whether to choose Ford or Farrell. Many people say that he played it safe and chose conservatism over calculated risk-taking.
The England coaching staff is heavily linked with rugby league. Andy Farrell was an ex-league player and Stuart Lancaster was brought up around the league-game. This influenced the style of play and evidently, did not work. I also believe that team selection was a big factor in the failure of the English team. He did not give younger players in the squad like Henry Slade and Jack Nowell the chance to play in the important matches. He instead chose, in my opinion, very boring players who did not perform. I believe that he should have chosen players like Eastmond and Burrell for the 31-man squad instead of Brad Barritt (for example.)
There seemed to be a lack of team unity and rumours, after England’s exit from the World Cup, began to spread. Apparently Cipriani fell out with Mike Catt, the kicking coach and that may have been why he wasn’t selected for the squad. The captain, Chris Robshaw, did not lead from the front and made wrong decisions during the games. Ultimately the coaching staff were not good enough.
England’s scrum was weak
England’s scrum was weak against Australia and the best scrummagers for England were left out of the squad. Stuart Lancaster made the decision not to pick players playing outside England and he has since been criticised for this. The best player in Europe in 2014, Steffon Armitage was left out of the squad entirely and Nick Abendanon a star player for Clermont was left out too.
It is also worth mentioning that Lancaster has had no experience of coaching at the highest level before he took over at England. There is going to be an inquest into the failure of England at the World Cup and it is looking ever more likely that Stuart Lancaster will be sacked. In my opinion, the failure of the team was down to the coaches, who picked the team and made the decisions that mattered most.
Have your say? Why do you think England lost the world cup?