Despite being the host nation, or perhaps because of it, England’s 2015 RWC run ended up in failure. So much so in fact, that the team failed to move out of the Pool stage. In hindsight, the reasons behind the fiasco are clear and they are indeed numerous. From an unlucky draw, to simply lacking a solid core of world-class performers, one can point a finger at many such factors. Let’s take a quick look at a few additional ones.
The system underneath the national team always carries blame for such meltdowns. England’s is based on a strong network of clubs who fight over control of the best players. In this respect, one could hardly argue that England is not where it should be. Whether the clubs are pliant enough to the wishes of the national coach is another question altogether. Some have pointed out that unlike Scotland, Ireland and Wales, England is seen as a lot more disjointed in this respect. This sort of attitude may well have come back to bite them.
The previously mentioned lack of a world-class may have had something to do with the fact that the team as a whole and players as individuals, simply failed to rise to the occasion. With the possible exception of scrum-half Ben Youngs, England seemed frozen and perhaps a tad intimidated by the occasion, rather than inspired by it. There simply weren’t enough individual heroics to carry the team and to provide inspiration to it in key moments.
What happens now? Despite this most spectacular of setbacks, England have definitely made headway under coach Stuart Lancaster. It’s safe to assume though that no one would be able to avoid the axe after such a performance. Chances are the heads of assistants Clive Woodward and Graham Henry will have to roll as well.