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Geoff Parling: Stuart Lancaster has left England in good shape

Published 18/11/2015

Jonathan Joseph is now expected to return to action in December rather than January
Jonathan Joseph is now expected to return to action in December rather than January

England's incoming head coach will inherit the nucleus of a squad capable of competing with the best, according to forward Geoff Parling.

The search continues for a successor to Stuart Lancaster, who stepped down last week having presided over a dreadful World Cup campaign when the hosts failed to make it out of the pool stages.

Former Australia and Japan boss Eddie Jones is a strong favourite to fill the vacancy at Twickenham, with which ex-South Africa coach Jake White has also been linked.

While Lancaster came in for plenty of criticism, Exeter Chiefs lock Parling believes the one-time Leeds Carnegie director of rugby laid plenty of positive groundwork during his four-year tenure in the job.

"He put a lot of good things in place, a lot of foundations," Parling said to BBC Sport.

"There's a hell of a lot of talent around and whoever comes in is going to inherit a good group of players that play in a very competitive league every week."

Parling, who left Leicester in the summer, will always look back on the 2015 tournament as a missed opportunity.

"I can't tell you how disappointed I am, it's something that will stay with me in some way almost forever and I still think about it quite a lot - a home World Cup, I'm certainly never going to experience that again as a player," the 32-year-old said.

"Out of all the stuff that comes out afterwards, the thing that I've been thinking about is 'what more could I have done?'.

"A lot of the stuff that people are looking for, outside reasons, weren't actually there. We just weren't good enough on the rugby pitch and I think as players we'll be thinking, and we have thought, about what more could be done."

Parling played in each of England's four matches, including defeats at Twickenham to both Australia and Wales.

Full-back Mike Brown was left less than impressed by claims some players had questioned the selection of Sam Burgess, who has since returned to rugby league.

Parling, though, insisted England always provided a united front.

He said: "The area we did seem quite tight was off the pitch.

"I've been a bit gutted with things getting released because there weren't any distractions at the time."

England begin their Six Nations campaign against Scotland on February 6, and are expected to have Bath outside centre Jonathan Joseph available again following surgery on a damaged pectoral muscle last month.

Jones is currently contracted to Cape Town-based Super Rugby franchise the Stormers.

The 55-year-old, who had a spell in charge at Saracens from 2007 to 2009, has spoken on his concerns over players not being centrally contracted in England as they are in some other countries, which could bring him up against the Aviva Premiership clubs should he eventually take over at Twickenham.

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