England will take their time before deciding whether to end Stuart Lancaster’s reign as head coach five years earlier than planned, says Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Ian Ritchie.
Ritchie, who appointed Lancaster in one of his first major decisions after moving from the All England Lawn Tennis Club, said the RFU’s response would be “calm, rational and considered”.
“Clearly it doesn’t feel any better this morning. We all share a sense of deep disappointment and there’s no other way of looking at it,” he said of Saturday’s tournament-ending defeat to Australia.
“We’ve been most grateful for the support that we’ve had from everybody. That sense of deep disappointment is because, no question, we haven’t reflected that support in terms of winning the games.”
World Cup hosts England face Uruguay in Manchester on Saturday in their final Pool A fixture, but are already condemned to an early exit.
“The first thing that happens next is that there’s a game next week against Uruguay and we need to focus on that,” Ritchie added.
“This isn’t a time for any knee-jerk reaction. This isn’t a time to rush into things, it’s a time for calm, rational, considered reflection about what can we learn, how can we move forward, what can we do to improve, and we’ll only do that in a calm, considered and rational manner.”
Ritchie said England chiefs stood by their controversial policy of omitting foreign-based stars such as Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage and Clermont Auvergne full-back Nick Abendanon – the last two recipients of the European Player of the Year award.
“We all felt that was the right policy; we continue to feel that’s the right policy,” he said. “It’s the right policy for rugby in this country.”