- Andy Farrell denies having overriding influence on line-ups and tactics
- Says Stuart Lancaster had final decisions
- Insists that the head coach has done a good job since taking over in 2012
- Defends the selection of code-convert Sam Burgess
England backs coach Andy Farrell has denied he had an overriding influence on the team, insisting head coach Stuart Lancaster ultimately made all the main decisions.
Some media reports had suggested that the defensive coach, not Lancaster, was piecing together game plans and deciding on line-ups, but this is something he has categorically rejected.
“The head coach makes the final decision. That is that,” said Farrell.
“We have discussions, you all put in your two pennies’ worth, and then ultimately Stuart makes the call,” added Farrell.
The selection of Sam Burgess instead of Luther Burrell was one major incident that had been linked to Farrell, but the England coach insisted the cross-code star was there due to nothing but merit.
“Sam worked unbelievably hard and has continued to work unbelievably hard for the team.”
Farrell also had to fend off allegations that two unnamed England coaches broke regulations by confronting a match official in the tunnel at Twickenham at half-time during Saturday’s loss to Australia.
In regard to Lancaster, the coach maintained his belief that the England head coach, whose job seems in severe jeopardy, was the right man to take the nation forward.
“We’ll obviously be defined by two losses, but it’s more than that. If we stay on, or whoever comes in, it’s a much easier job now than it was three-and-a-half years ago when he made those big decisions.
“His percentage of making big decisions has been outstanding over that time. That’s why I say it’s been built on rock-solid foundations.
“Stuart has done marvellous things for this country. He’s the proudest, hardest-working Englishman I’ve ever met. He’s done some famous things for this team.
“We’ve had some big wins and losses along the way but Stuart’s ability to put in place what he has and bring a meaning to the shirt has been absolutely second to none.
“It’s been an absolutely privilege to work for such a caring guy. He’s a brilliant coach who has done wonders for this team and connected everyone back to this team.”
Despite his praise of Lancaster, England’s successive failures against the Wallabies and Wales ultimately mean they are the first host nation in the history of Rugby World Cup not to qualify for the final eight with one game still to go against Uruguay on Saturday,