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Controversial incidents that led to Stuart Lancaster stepping down from England

Published 11/11/2015

Cross-code convert Sam Burgess, pictured, came to signify all that was wrong with England's World Cup campaign
Cross-code convert Sam Burgess, pictured, came to signify all that was wrong with England's World Cup campaign

Stuart Lancaster's reign as England head coach ended on Wednesday, after the 2015 World Cup campaign turned into a nightmare.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the contentious episodes which contributed to Lancaster stepping down from his role.

PUTTING THE BOOT IN

The squad spent a day's riot training with the Metropolitan Police before leaving for their pre-World Cup high-altitude camp in Denver, but it did not end well. It was said that the next day's training had to be modified due to fatigue after players had run a kilometre in Army-style boots and several were suffering from blisters, and left the squad privately questioning the wisdom of the exercise.

TRAINING GROUND FURY

England skills coach Mike Catt and Danny Cipriani were involved in a training-ground clash hours after the outside-half was told he would not be in the World Cup squad, but before the selection was announced in August. There was a concerted attempt to prevent the incident coming to light, but the Rugby Football Union engaged in a damage-limitation exercise amid reports of some players being taken aback by the force of the attack on Cipriani.

BURGESS SELECTION

Cross-code convert Sam Burgess came to signify England's dreadful World Cup. The rugby league star made the 31-man squad despite being in union for less than a year and providing little evidence that he had adapted to the sport. Lancaster went even further by selecting him for the defeat to Wales - and the failed experiment ended with Burgess returning to league in Australia after the tournament.

CHANGING APPROACH

England seemed set on a more expansive brand of rugby with George Ford as fly-half and Brad Barritt and Jonathan Joseph as the midfield combination. But Ford was suddenly jettisoned for the Wales game with the kicking skills of Owen Farrell preferred, while Burgess' promotion also smacked of a more conservative approach which belonged to a past era.

ROASTING THE REF

Lancaster's lieutenants Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree were confined to limited roles for the closing World Cup game against Uruguay as the pressure told on the England camp. The pair were found guilty of confronting referee Roman Poite in the tunnel during the heavy defeat to Australia which effectively sealed England's elimination from the tournament.

SHARES COST A PACKET

Post-tournament reports suggested some England players lost a combined total in excess of £100,000 after allegedly being persuaded by kit man Dave Tennison to invest in an oil drilling firm. The shares subsequently plummeted in value to leave players out of pocket, although it is understood Lancaster and his coaching team had no knowledge of Tennison's supposed shares advice.

BROWNED OFF

Full-back Mike Brown, one of the few England players to emerge from the World Cup with any credit, gave an insight into the dressing-room culture under Lancaster when he complained that leaked stories meant he could not trust any of his international team-mates. Brown said whoever was in charge for the RBS 6 Nations next year would have to "sort out" trust issues.

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