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Will Carling calls for Stuart Lancaster to shake up England coaching staff

Published 04/10/2015

Stuart Lancaster's side are out of the World Cup
Stuart Lancaster's side are out of the World Cup

Former England captain Will Carling believes Stuart Lancaster should keep his job as head coach - if he is prepared to make changes to his staff.

Lancaster's future has come under scrutiny after Saturday's 33-13 defeat to Australia which eliminated them from their home World Cup at the pool stage.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has since ruled out any ''hasty reaction'' following the huge disappointment and said that a "calm, clear, rational and thorough" review will take place when the tournament has ended.

Carling, who as captain in 1991 led England to the World Cup final at Twickenham, thinks England have underachieved during Lancaster's four years in charge but that the blame does not lie solely at his door - bringing into question the roles played by assistants Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt.

"Stuart Lancaster is a hugely likeable guy and he has done a very, very good job and that has to be kept in mind, but you have to take a step back because this is not a personal judgement on whether you like the guy or not. It is a decision about what is best for English rugby and what will allow us to win games," Carling told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"When you review the World Cup, and the last four years, we haven't won a championship and we have had a poor World Cup. So if you're thinking of keeping Stuart and building on those experiences of the past four years - fine. But we need to add a sharper edge in some shape or form to that coaching team.

"That is because when you analyse it, it has not delivered what it should deliver. I think we have players who are better than that so somewhere we need an extra edge - whether that is if Stuart and/or his coaches stay or go.

"If the decision was down to me, it would depend if Stuart Lancaster was telling me he wants to keep his coaching block or whether he is willing to change it. Something has to change in order to deliver better results so if he wants to stay he needs to come up with a new formula for a coaching team."

England World Cup-winning flanker Lewis Moody agreed wholeheartedly that Lancaster should be retained and hopes the RFU learns from its mistakes of the recent past.

"Absolutely he should, 100 per cent," he told Sportsweek.

"I remember a similar situation with Martin Johnson, with the experiences he had in the past and playing in three World Cups and obviously going through 2011. Martin was put in a similar position, as far as I'm aware, where the RFU wanted him to stay under the prerequisite that he had to get rid of his coaching staff.

"And Jonno being the person that he was wouldn't have other people fall on his sword, so he stepped down, which I think was a huge mistake for the RFU not to retain him."

Will Greenwood, another 2003 World Cup winner, also believes the RFU should stick with Lancaster.

He told Sky Sports News: "I think they've made significant progress.

"I'm not a baby-and-bathwater kind of guy. If you look historically at track records of guys like Sir Graham Henry, Sir Clive Woodward, they were given a second opportunity to learn from mistakes and came back and won the trophy.

"It's a young squad that couldn't cope with the pressure of the big occasion. They looked shell-shocked as though the whole week, the enormity of the defeat against Wales, the emotional toll meant that it was a really back-foot performance.

"Stuart will consider his position but if Stuart continues as England coach, I for one would be fully supportive."

Sir Clive Woodwood, who masterminded the 2003 triumph in Australia, felt England "simply haven't been good enough''.

After being edged out by Wales 28-25 last weekend, Lancaster's side knew nothing but a victory would do at Twickenham against Australia, but the Wallabies exposed nerves and frailties at the breakdown to batter the hosts.

"Let's not waste time with excuses. Let's lose with dignity,'' Woodward said in the Daily Mail.

''No expense has been spared in England's preparation and they were at home in both matches. Everything was in England's favour and they should have cashed in."

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