Andy Farrell says Stuart Lancaster had 'final decision' over team

Media playback is not supported on this device

Farrell defiant on England selection
Rugby World Cup Pool A: England v Uruguay
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium Date: Saturday, 10 October Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, live text commentary on BBC Sport website

England backs coach Andy Farrell has denied having undue influence on tactics and team selection during the side's World Cup failure.

Media reports suggested some players in the squad felt Farrell - rather than head coach Stuart Lancaster - was deciding game plans and line-ups.

"The head coach makes the final decision. That is that," said Farrell.

Farrell's son Owen replaced George Ford at fly-half for the defeats by Wales and Australia as England crashed out.

But it was the selection of Sam Burgess in the 31-man squad at the expense of Luther Burrell that reportedly caused disharmony.

Burgess converted to union from league last November, while Burrell started all of England's Six Nations matches earlier this year.

Andy Farrell
Andy Farrell made eight appearances for England as a player - including three at the 2007 World Cup

"We have discussions, you all put in your two pennies' worth and then ultimately Stuart makes the call," said Farrell.

"Sam worked unbelievably hard and has continued to work unbelievably hard for the team."

Lancaster has insisted responsibility for England's success or failure lies with him.

England's losses in Pool A - after victory over Fiji in the tournament opener - mean they are the first host nation to fail to make the knockout stages in World Cup history.

A number of former players and pundits, including England World Cup winner and BBC Radio 5 live pundit Matt Dawson, have said Lancaster should go.

Dawson told BBC Sport that playing Farrell instead of Ford at fly-half was a "backward step" and Lancaster was "inexperienced, a very good coach of a certain level, but not proven at international level".

Dawson said he would like to see Lancaster kept on in another role with the Rugby Football Union, but added: "There's quite a gap between developing players to be ready to play for their country and creating a World Cup-winning team."

Fellow 2003 World Cup winner Mike Tindall said he "hated" the "witch hunt" around Lancaster, and that he had been a "massive fan" of the England head coach's tenure, but said he thought Lancaster had made "disappointing selections" in the last six weeks.

Reaction to England's World Cup exit
Guscott "gobsmacked" by England exit
Six reasons it all went wrong for England
England let the whole nation down, says captain Chris Robshaw
RFU chief Ian Ritchie says there will not be a 'hasty reaction'
A new rock bottom for England?
Listen: Farrell reacts tersely to question about his son, Owen

Farrell, however, believes Lancaster should be given the chance to fulfil a contract that runs until 2020.

"People will try and define us with those two defeats, but I think Stuart has built something that is more than that here," he said.

"He has done absolutely marvellous things for this rugby team.

"We have good leaders here at the RFU. They will do the right thing, there is no problem about that."

England and Bath centre Jonathan Joseph echoed Farrell's comments and also backed captain Chris Robshaw to continue in his role.

"Stuart's been fantastic," said Joseph, who started against Australia. "He's been amazing and deserves another shot.

"I think Robshaw's up there to be skipper for much longer. He's a great leader, someone you can speak to."

The 24-year-old added: "His workrate is fantastic. He makes a point when he's on the pitch, he never leaves anything out there. He's exhausted at the end of a match."

Farrell declined to comment on a World Rugby investigation into whether England's coaches spoke to the match officials at half-time of their defeat by Australia. Communicating with the officials is a breach of the tournament regulations.

Top Stories