England defence coach Andy Farrell has denied having a disproportionate influence over team selection in the wake of his side’s humiliating poolstage exit at the World Cup.
It has been suggested that Farrell championed the cause of rugby league convert Sam Burgess against the wishes of players, while his objectivity has been questioned in relation to his son Owen playing at fly-half against Wales ahead of the dropped George Ford.
“The four of us as coaches get together and have discussions. Ultimately Stuart [Lancaster] makes the call and we all buy into that. It’s unanimous,” said Farrell Snr.
Despite overseeing England’s worst ever World Cup showing – never before has a host nation failed to reach the quarter-finals – Farrell believes it would be a mistake to sack head coach Stuart Lancaster.
“We’ve lost two games and people will try to define us by those two games but what Stuart has built is more than that,” added Farrell. “The whole campaign and the three-and-ahalf years of leadership has been built on rock solid foundations.
“He has done marvellous things for this country and this rugby team. He can’t be fired because there’s too much work that has gone into this. I think he’s a brilliant coach.”
Rugby World Cup organisers, meanwhile, have launched an investigation into whether a member of England’s coaching staff approached a match official during Saturday’s 33-13 defeat to Australia.