At 12.03pm on 11th November a press release was issued from England Rugby entitled RFU Statement: Stuart Lancaster, the ensuing statement contained the information that England's head coach had resigned 'by mutual consent' and will no longer direct England's elite performance group.
The words that Stuart used to express his decision are again a reflection of the extremely dignified and honourable man that England's, now former head coach, is. From the day that he was given an opportunity until the final statement in role Stuart Lancaster has acted with extreme integrity and endeared himself to many individuals. Personally I count myself extremely fortunate to have had regular contact with him during the past few years and have the utmost respect for the open and honest manner in which he has always interacted with the media.
The fact of the matter is that elite sport is a results based business and falling short in a home tournament put the writing on the wall for Stuart when the final whistle blew against Australia on Saturday 3rd October. Following that match ensuing criticism and character assassination of him is something that I personally believe was uncalled for. Naturally we could all see that the results hadn't gone England's way however to deliver such intense condemnation of a man that was still in role and had a job to do the following week in my view wasn't necessary.
This England Rugby squad has the potential to fly however I believe it is fair to say that the pressure of this home tournament stifled them. England's players and coaches aren't the first group in history ever to experience that and they certainly won't be the last. Only individuals within the squad will be able to tell you if the management did not have the nous or experience to guide them through this tournament, from the outside I cannot give a viewpoint on this. The harsh reality is that the failure to deliver the desired results have cost Stuart his role - only time will tell as to whether those on his team will stay in the set up however you anticipate that a new head coach will want to bring in their own personnel.
The final words in the press release were that 'the new head coach will continue to report into the CEO, who will now lead the process for recruitment, beginning immediately.' At this moment in time all signs point to a foreign head coach being appointed and one that has a good level of experience and history behind him for that was the largest criticism laid at Stuart and indeed his management team's door. Personally I'm not adverse to this for if you look at the progression of Ireland, Scotland and indeed Wales under their foreign head coaches I don't see it to be a bad thing. My perspective is that if someone has the skill set and knowledge to lead an elite rugby side it shouldn't matter what their accent is or where they come from. Now the waiting game begins... the RFU's next move must be a swift one for the RBS 6 Nations is just around the corner however it must also be the right one.