England coach under fire after World Cup disaster

 04 Oct 2015 - 10:17

England coach under fire after World Cup disaster

London: England coach Stuart Lancaster apologised and admitted his future is uncertain after Australia dumped his side out of the World Cup with a brilliant performance at Twickenham.

Lancaster and England captain Chris Robshaw apologised to the nation for Saturday's 33-13 humiliation by the Wallabies.

But the knives were quickly out for the pair as England became the first World Cup hosts to fail to reach the last eight knockout round.

Asked if he was considering his position after the loss, Lancaster said: "Yeah, obviously I think I've got to. It's not just going to be my decision."

"The responsibility and accountability lies with me" added Lancaster, who was given a contract extension last year that took him to 2020 -- beyond the next World Cup in Japan.

"Everyone put so much effort in but we're sorry we let everyone down," added Lancaster.

The coach said his priority was to prepare England for their final, and meaningless, Pool A match against Uruguay in Manchester next Saturday.

England were outplayed by Australia -- for whom fly-half Bernard Foley scored 28 points.

England captain Chris Robshaw, appointed by Lancaster, accepted he would be under pressure as well.

"We feel we let the country down today. As players we didn't quite get there. We apologise to them," he said.

"I think this week we're going to have to answer some really tough questions," he said.

Many fans left Twickenham before the end of the match and English media mocked the national team. "End of the World," said a Mail on Sunday headline.

England has spent more than 100 million dollars preparing for the tournament which the rugby federation wanted to use to increase the game's popularity.

Experts said no decision was likely to be taken about Lancaster until after the World Cup final on October 31.

South Africa took a new step in their return from the brink by beating Scotland 34-16 in Pool B.

The Springboks were shamed by Japan 34-32 in their first game but have won twice since and now appear favourites to top the table and get an easier quarter final opponent.

Scotland are second one point back and Japan, who beat Samoa 26-5, are three points behind the leaders. Any could finish top but South Africa have a relatively easy final game against the United States.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said the team would stay "humble" because of the earlier upset, but savoured the latest win that deposed Scotland from top place.

"We're at our best if we've been written off," Meyer said after the performance in which Handre Pollard kicked 19 points and Schalk Burger, JP Pietersen and Bryan Habana scored tries.

Japan also play the United States in their final match next week and their coach Eddie Jones said the Asian champions should be named "team of the tournament" if they get a third win.

On Sunday, Ireland play Italy in Pool D at London's Olympic stadium seeking a win that would secure a place in the quarter finals.

Italy welcome back their inspirational captain Sergio Parisse for the game, but he admitted he will not be fully fit and that Ireland are the favourites.

Parisse said the game "is a chance to make history, a small chance. I can't say if we have a great chance of winning, but we have to fight and we will give everything to take this chance."

In the second game, Argentina play Tonga in Pool C. Tonga will put out their oldest team ever, with an average age of over 31, in a bid to get a second win and keep the race for the runners-up spot wide open between them and the Pumas.