stuart lancaster

Sir Clive Woodward has hit out at the Rugby Football Union for laying the blame with Stuart Lancaster for England’s World Cup failure.

Lancaster, who signed a six-year deal in 2014, left his position as England head coach on Wednesday after agreeing a severance deal with the RFU.

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie, meanwhile, has expressed his intent to lead the search for a replacement of “proven international experience”.

But former England World Cup-winning coach Woodward believes Ritchie should also have been held accountable for England’s group stage exit.

He wrote in his Daily Mail column: “It is so wrong that Lancaster alone seems to have been responsible for England’s failure. Those responsible for his appointment, and who have backed him and been happy to reap praise in the good times, should be looking in the mirror today and feeling very uncomfortable over what has happened.


“Instead, Ian Ritchie, the man who appointed Lancaster as head coach and offered the coaches six-year extensions just a year ago, has led the panel to review their performance before recommending to the board that Lancaster step down and he be the man to find the next England coach. That man will then report to Ritchie. What business would operate this way?

“I was fervently hoping for real change from top to bottom, with Ritchie admitting serious errors in the appointments and the structure of English rugby that has left us in this mess.

“Instead we find ourselves in the same position as we did four years ago when Martin Johnson stepped down having accepted the blame for a poor World Cup campaign in New Zealand.”

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