Stuart Lancaster’s last 5 England debutants, where are they now? - Ruck

Stuart Lancaster’s last 5 England debutants, where are they now?

Stuart Lancaster faced a monumental challenge as he led England into the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil.

However, despite his best efforts, England faltered and was eliminated in the pool stage, marking the first time in the tournament’s history that a host nation failed to advance to the knockout stages after defeats to Wales and Australia.

Nevertheless, amidst Lancaster’s perceived shortcomings, some of his final debutants for England have risen to the top, aiding Eddie Jones in securing two Six Nations championships.

However, it’s worth noting that one player has since retired from the sport, while another has yet to earn another cap for the national team.

Let’s take a closer look at the last five debutants under Stuart Lancaster’s tenure with England.

1. Sam Burgess

On 10 August, Burgess was named in the England Elite Squad to make his International début against France at Twickenham on 15 August, in a warm-up match for the Rugby World Cup. He started the game which England won 19-14.

Following his appearance where he was sin-binned, World Cup winning English scrum-half Matt Dawson commented: “You can’t take him to the World Cup for me. He played 80 mins and credit for that. But the way the game went in the second half there was nothing for him to do. The great thing about Burgess is he doesn’t make mistakes with ball in hand. But unfortunately, if you’re going to be really picky, positionally he wasn’t great. He played like a six rather than a 12. There are things that are instinctively he doesn’t know what to do.”

Dawson’s comments came before Lancaster named Burgess as one of four centres to represent England in the World Cup. His inclusion and performances at the World Cup were widely scrutinized, and seen by some pundits as partly to blame for England’s “humiliating” early pool stage exit from the tournament—the worst result for a sole host nation in the tournament’s history.

On 5 November, Burgess made the decision to leave rugby union, opting to return to South Sydney Rabbitohs, signing a three-year contract, approximately worth $1.5m AUD per season.