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28th May 2018

Stuart Lancaster claims the pain of Rugby World Cup exit will stay with him forever

Jack O'Toole

Defeat can live a lot longer in the memory of professional sports coaches than victory.

Partly, because coaches are often discarded for the defeats they endure rather than the victories they have accumulated over their tenure, but there’s also the element that losing hurts and that the fear of losing can be greater than the allure of winning.

Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster has never really been a coach that runs his teams like sides that are afraid to lose, he’s been quite the opposite at both England and Leinster, but England’s 2015 Rugby World Cup exit was humiliating for him.

Lancaster’s England team were the first ever host nation to crash out in the group stages after Pool stage losses to Australia and Wales.

The Leeds native took full responsibility for England’s performance and said that the Red Rose had a promising future, however, he said that the pain from that defeat has stuck with him to this day.

“You can never change what happened,” said Lancaster.

“The pain of being a head coach in a home World Cup and not qualifying will stay with me forever but there’s no doubt about it; the decision to come to Leinster is the best decision I could have ever made. There’s no doubt in my mind.

“A fantastic group of players, great staff to work with and to achieve success helps massively.”

Lancaster said that his assistant coach at England, current Ireland assistant Andy Farrell, had convinced him that moving to Leinster was a straight forward decision and that he would inherit a talented team that just needed some co-ordination.

“I knew I was coming to a good team, there’s no doubt in my mind,” added Lancaster.

“I was lucky that I got a tip-off from Andy Farrell that I didn’t have to think about this one because he coached a lot of the players and he knew how good they were.

“The season before I arrived Leinster had lost to Connacht in the final, Europe hadn’t gone so well, I had watched those games and I could see the talent in the team and I could see they just needed a little bit of co-ordination.

“We came close last year, two semi-finals, but to achieve the double this year – which no team has achieved in the PRO14 – it’s only Saracens and one or two other teams that have achieved it domestically. It’s an exceptional group of players.”