England broke records after losing against Australia in the Rugby World Cup 2015. The defeat means the team cannot move onto the quarter-finals, despite the top three teams still having at least one game each to play.
The team was devastated after the 33-13 defeat, which saw Owen Farrell sent off with just 10 minutes to play due to an illegal tackle. There are already calls for Stuart Lancaster to step down
as head coach, despite having six years left on his contract, according to BBC Sport. However, the coach says that the focus right now is to beat Uruguay next week. England need to come third in Pool A to guarantee a spot in Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
This is the earliest the team has ever been knocked out in any Rugby World Cup since it started in 1987. Before now, the team had made it to at least the quarter finals, with appearances in the finals of the 2003 and 2007 games; winning the 2003 tournament.
England fans around the world were disappointed with the exit, but not all blame the head coach. Some of the blame is on the way the pools are created. Even Warren Gatland, Wales’ head coach, blamed Pool A for England’s defeat. It was a big possibility that the team would fail to get through to the quarter-finals, with England, Wales, and Australia being in the same pool. It was a tough one to call, and England was just the weaker side.
The major blow is that England is hosting the 2015 World Cup. According to The Telegraph, this is the first time a host has been knocked out at the group stages, adding to the embarrassment of the loss against Australia on Saturday night. World Rugby is expected to host a review considering this defeat.
Officials state that, after the Rugby World Cup 2015 is over, World Rugby will review the way the pool stages are determined. Gatland’s main issue is that the pool draws are done three years in advance. While it does mean teams get to size each other up, Gatland says that it led to the Pool of Hell. Considering that England and Wales are jointly hosting the World Cup, one would think that both teams would have been in different groups to increase chances of both getting through.
Lancaster has admitted that the failure falls on him, and he may consider resigning. Right now, he needs to focus on the Uruguay game, and will consider his options afterwards. He says he can only blame himself for the defeat.
However, fans are quick to defend the coach. He had no control over how the players performed during the games against Wales and Australia. There were some questionable decisions, including the decision against taking a penalty kick in the game against Wales to draw; England was too focused on the win. Farrell’s illegal tackle also meant that England had to face Australia with just 14 men for the last 10 minutes of the crucial game. Morale dropped, and Australia took advantage in a second half that saw England really fight for a position in the quarter finals.
It could be Chris Robshaw who resigns as captain of the team. His decisions on the pitch were the ones that cost the players the most, especially in the Wales game.
England is out, but the Rugby World Cup is not yet over. There is still one game; a game of pride and to keep hold of that third place in Pool A. Wales and Australia are now guaranteed spots in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup 2015, along with Ireland, France, New Zealand and Argentina.
[Photos by David Rodgers/Getty Images]