In an extract from Rob Andrew’s book, ‘The Game of My Life: battling for England in the professional era,’ England’s World Cup 2015 coach Stuart Lancaster comes in for some heavy criticism.
Andrew, the former RFU Director of Professional Rugby said Lancaster was “losing the plot” in relation to the World Cup, believing he became both “obsessive” and “dictatorial,” especially around his handling of Sam Burgess.
“Stuart Lancaster and (current Ireland defence coach) Andy Farrell have always defended their position on this, but as far as I’m concerned they can say what they like: Burgess was a rogue ingredient in the mix,” says Andrew.
“The Burgess business revealed him at his most obsessive: he was clearly not happy with his options at No 12 and had made up his mind that Sam offered him the nearest thing to a way out, despite the reservations of those who had not seen anything from him at club level with Bath to suggest that he was even remotely up to speed with the realities of midfield play at Test level.”
“We were treated to a slow-motion car crash – a scrambling of the decision-making process, an unravelling of everything we had worked for since that Six Nations camp in Leeds in the cold early weeks of 2012.”
“At that moment, our chances were dust. The valedictory capitulation against the Australians a week later was entirely predictable.”
At a Leinster press conference yesterday Lancaster had the opportunity to respond to Andrew stinging remarks.
“I have to say I didn’t see this coming, I wasn’t aware that anything was being written,” said Lancaster.
“Everybody’s entitled to an opinion, Rob has given his and that’s his right I guess.
“You learn a lot about yourself as a national team coach and you learn a lot about other people as well. We’ll leave it at that.”