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Lancaster, Robshaw under pressure after England's rugby World Cup humiliation

Stuart Lancaster is the first England coach to have failed to reach the quarter-finals at the rugby World Cup.
Stuart Lancaster is the first England coach to have failed to reach the quarter-finals at the rugby World Cup. Reuters/Henry Browne

England are out of the rugby World Cup following their loss on Saturday night against a Bernard Foley inspired Australia. England coach Stuart Lancaster and skipper Chris Robshaw have apologised for the debacle. They are the first host nation to limp out at the pool stages.


Hosts England were dumped out of the rugby World Cup on Saturday night following a 33-13 loss to Australia. 

Foley was the hero for Australia. During a fly-half masterclass, he touched down two tries, kicked four penalties and three conversions to rack up 28 of his side’s 33 points in the victory.

The win means Australia and Wales advance to the quarter-finals. Who will finish top of Pool A will be decided when the teams meet on 10 October at Twickenham.

With their chance for redemption shattered, England must lick their wounds. They are the first hosts to be eliminated at the group stage since the inception of the tournament in 1987. It is also the first time the country’s rugby players have failed to progress out of the pool stages at a World Cup.

Lancaster admitted his future is uncertain after the defeat even though he has a contract until after the next World Cup in Japan in 2020.

"Yes, obviously I think I've got to consider my position. It's not just going to be my decision,” he said. "The responsibility and accountability lies with me. Everyone put so much effort in. We're sorry we let everyone down. "

Robshaw accepted he would be under pressure as well. "We feel we let the country down. As players we didn't quite get there. We apologise to them," he said. "I think over the next few days we're going to have to answer some really tough questions," he said.

The 33-13 score was Australia’s biggest winning margin over England at Twickenham and Foley's 28-point haul was the highest by an Australian against England.

"We wanted to put in a performance to make Australians proud and we delivered," said Foley. "We can take a lot of confidence out of the match against England for next week against Wales.”

Foley hailed the work of Australia’s back-row forwards Michael Hooper and Scott Fardy who, together with David Pocock, pillaged the ball and harried the English throughout the match.

"They put their heads where not many people would want to and that allows people to do their jobs," said Foley. "For me it made it a lot easier.”

Australia coach Michael Cheika insisted there was no room for complacency following the win. Australia have beaten Wales 10 times in a row but Cheika said the Welsh were led by a master coach in the shape of Warren Gatland.

"It is just about ourselves at the moment and trying to improve on the performance against England, said Cheika. "The commitment was very good and we will improve on that going forward. "We really wanted to win and to play well."

In Pool B Japan maintained their hopes of a quarter-final berth with a 26-5 win over Samoa.

South Africa also look set fair for the last eight. The two-time champions got past Scotland 34-16 at St James Park in Newcastle in north-east England and top the pool with 11 points. The Scots are second with 10 points after three games.

South Africa will take on the United States on 7 October at the Olympic Stadium in their final pool game. The Americans have yet to win a match at this year’s World Cup.

After the shock loss to Japan at the start of the competition, South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said the team would stay humble.

"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.

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