Rugby World Cup
'England's Rugby World Cup failure rests on Stuart Lancaster -- he has to go'
Mark Cueto
October 4, 2015
Where did it go wrong for England?

After England's painful exit from their own Rugby World Cup, the big question is: where do England go now? I know a lot of people are saying that Stuart Lancaster should get four more years, but why? What's different about him from any other coach?

When he came in, he had some pretty strong words to say about the 2011 regime -- one that I was part of -- and our pride in wearing the shirt and so on. I still take that very personally. We won all our group games, and went out to a side who made the World Cup final -- and Martin Johnson only had 18 months or so to prepare us. His team have lost two games out of three in the pool and are out with a game to spare. If anyone deserved four more years, it was Martin Johnson, so if you're going off that logic, then Lancaster's got to go.

The defeat to Australia, as a match in itself, is hard to analyse because the Wallabies were just so good. England were totally outplayed by a better team, and they showed their class in the first ten minutes when they looked to run it from deep and tried different options. It's not predictable, that's what makes it so good. That was the best performance I've seen any team produce so far in this World Cup, and it marks them out as the team to watch.

Stuart Lancaster looks on during the England Captain's Run
Stuart Lancaster looks on during the England Captain's Run© David Rogers/Getty Images

Where England truly fell short was last week against Wales -- that's the game that knocked them out of the World Cup really, because it affected the whole mindset going into this week and piled the pressure on. The players were so nervous last night, understandably, and Australia punished them.

England 13-33 Australia (Australia only)

The set-piece was terrible again, and I think that's one area that really has to be looked at. It feels like our scrums and lineouts are at their lowest points of the last few years, which couldn't have happened at a worse time. You've got to ask questions of the coaching team for that. Without a good set-piece, you can't do anything, and England used to bully Australia up front. I know the Wallabies have got a good scrimmage coach now in Mario Ledesma, but I feel like England have taken their eye off the ball in that area.

But over and above all of that, team selection is the major issue. I don't think anyone could predict the England starting team at any point in the last few years. Stuart Lancaster has chopped and changed so much that it affects the players. It's impossible to get any cohesion, any momentum and build as one team if you're constantly changing the players.

Having said that, I'm not having this stuff about players who aren't playing well because they're "scared to be dropped". That's just nonsense. That's a token excuse for the players -- everyone knows that they can be dropped at any moment, so it's down to you as a player to go out there and show why you should have the shirt. Play how you play, don't be scared to play. Look after your game, and selection looks after itself.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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