Rugby World Cup: Will Carling claims Stuart Lancaster treats England stars like schoolboys
England begin the countdown to the defining match of Stuart Lancaster's reign amid accusations by former captain Will Carling that their head coach has created a "classroom orientated environment" among players treated as "schoolboys".
World Cup survival hinges on the outcome of Saturday's showdown with Australia after Wales left Twickenham with a stunning 28-25 upset victory. Should England lose, they will become the first host nation to exit at the group stage.
Captain Chris Robshaw has been condemned for opting for an attacking line-out in the closing moments when awarded a penalty instead of giving Owen Farrell the chance to kick for goal that would have secured a draw.
Carling, who led England 59 times, is scathing.
"England were panicking. I don't blame Chris as much as I blame others. I blame the environment," Carling said.
"We have a very prescriptive environment. I've listened to Stuart Lancaster say that 'I don't have the leaders and we're having to make the decisions as coaches'. It's a classroom orientated environment.
"My view is that he has had leaders and he needed to have trusted them and develop them.
"What we watched in the last minutes was a confused debate between people who have never been given responsibility. We've treated them as schoolboys."