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World Cup organisers plan to change way man of the match is decided

Published 12/10/2015

England's Joe Launchbury found it
England's Joe Launchbury found it "embarrassing" to be named man of the match against Australia

World Cup organisers are to adjust the way the man of the match is decided in time for the quarter-finals after Joe Launchbury spoke of the "embarrassing" award he received when England were knocked out.

Moments after the hosts had been routed by Australia at Twickenham, sealing their tournament demise, Launchbury was forced to give a pitchside interview at Twickenham upon being handed his trophy.

It was among the 24-year-old's finest performances in an England jersey, but Bernard Foley and David Pocock were outstanding for the Wallabies and would have been worthier recipients.

Every bit as baffling was Uruguay's Agustin Ormaechea scoring a try against Fiji, being named man of the match and then receiving his marching orders after being sent off for a yellow card offence - all in the space of eight minutes.

The existing voting system sees a shortlist of three players selected by the tournament's world feed radio early in the second half before fans choose their preferred choice on social media, resulting in some bizarre picks.

"There is a rethink happening because there have been a few challenges," head of Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin said.

"Any man-of-the-match scenario where you have a public vote and that public vote takes place at a particular point in the game leads to some anomalies.

"We saw that with the Uruguay player who received a red card shortly after being named man of the match and of course the Launchbury situation.

"We're looking at that now before the knockout stage and the plan is for the change to be made. We're adjusting the timing and the way the voting takes place."

England 2015 managing director Stephen Brown and World Rugby boss Brett Gosper offered slightly different views on England's World Cup disappointment, although both felt the tournament would continue to be a success.

It is the first time a host nation will be missing from the quarter-finals, but, with the event already acclaimed the biggest and best in its history, it is felt their absence will not impact on interest levels in the final weeks.

"With the tournament being in full swing and proving a juggernaut with huge success and momentum, there has been very little effect, if any, on the global nature of the tournament," Gosper said.

"All tournaments would like the hosts to do well enough to keep momentum going in the host country, but my sense is this is a very mature and philosophical sporting market.

"England may be out but the people here still love their sport and love the event. The spirit of English fans will still contribute to making this tournament a success. We're fine."

Brown, the Rugby Football Union's financial director, was less sanguine over the departure of Stuart Lancaster's men.

"There is no question that we are disappointed that England, the host nation, are not involved in the knockout phase. I don't think we can shy away from that," Brown said.

"That is a challenge. We were always ready for 12 teams going home after the pool phases. We always knew that one big nation was going to go out of the Pool A."

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