Player criticism after World Cup led to changes in English set-up

England’s decision to axe assistant coach Andy Farrell was sparked by heavy criticism from senior players in the post-World Cup review.

Player criticism after World Cup led to changes in English set-up

New head coach Eddie Jones has been given carte blanche to compose his own backroom staff, and had the option to retain former England boss Stuart Lancaster’s assistants.

But a core of the squad told the Rugby Football Union (RFU) that Farrell had to be held accountable for his role in England becoming the worst-performing hosts in World Cup history.

Jones has wasted no time in lining up Steve Borthwick and Paul Gustard as specialist coaches.

Once the decision was taken that Farrell would not be retained, Jones and the RFU bosses quickly agreed to complete an entire clear-out.

Former England captain Borthwick is expected to assume specialist lineout duties in Jones’ set-up, reprising the role he filled to fine effect with Japan during the World Cup.

Gustard should now leave Saracens and be tasked with transferring the fabled ‘wolf pack’ defence that he pioneered at the Aviva Premiership club into the Test arena.

Jones said he canvassed wide opinion before opting to dismiss England coaches Farrell, Rowntree and Catt.

World Cup boss Lancaster was previously criticised in some quarters for allowing Farrell too much authority, but the post-tournament review indicated continued frustrations among some players centred around England’s playing style.

A number of England’s top players are thought to have told the review panel that the Test side must now chase a more expansive game, suggesting Farrell was a central champion of the safer World Cup approach which ultimately backfired.

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