Rugby World Cup 2015: Warren Gatland supports Stuart Lancaster

By Richard WilliamsBBC Wales Sport
Stuart Lancaster and Warren Gatland
Stuart Lancaster's England beat Warren Gatland's Wales in the 2015 Six Nations
Rugby World Cup: Australia v Wales
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 10 October Kick-off: 16:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and BBC Radio 5 live, plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has been in touch with Stuart Lancaster to offer his support following England's elimination from the World Cup.

England became the first hosts to fail to reach the knockout stages after losing to Wales and Australia.

Gatland said the media reaction to the exit amounted to an "assassination" of Lancaster's coaching team.

Asked if he had sympathy with his English counterpart, Gatland replied: "Absolutely yes."

Wales and Australia play each other on Saturday to decide the winners of Pool A, while England face bottom-of-the-group Uruguay in a dead rubber at Manchester's Etihad Stadium.

England's three-point loss to Gatland's side followed a late decision to kick to touch when a kick at goal could have tied the match 28-28.

The Rugby Football Union will carry out a review of England's performance after the World Cup, with Lancaster and his team facing calls for changes at the top.

It's just one kick

"I think it's been a little bit of an assassination by the media really," Gatland said.

"And it's one kick - and if they had potentially taken those three points I don't think all of this would have been the same.

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"I rang Stuart during the week and he texted me back and said he appreciated the support," he added.

"I gave him a call to give him that support and hope he's OK and more importantly that he and his family are. To me that's more important than the rugby.

"At the end of the day we're all in that together, aren't we? We all understand the pressures of the professional sport and what you have to deal with."

No stranger to controversy

Gatland has been Wales coach since 2008, and before that was in charge at Wasps and Ireland.

He has had his share of controversy, most notably when as British and Irish Lions coach he dropped Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll for the third Test against Australia in 2013.

His decision led to sharp criticism from former Ireland captain Keith Wood among many others.

Gatland backs Lee and Wales' scrum

The 52-year-old New Zealander has also been accused by the media - especially in Australia - of playing a direct game they have dubbed "Warrenball".

However, his team to face Australia this Saturday looks like a positive one, with George North selected at centre and Liam Williams taking his place on the wing with Gareth Anscombe at full-back.

Gatland says the team have been told to express themselves.

"We've said to our players there's an opportunity for us to go out there and see if we can look at some opportunities to put Australia under pressure.

"We think there are some opportunities for us to attack as well."