England’s hopes of making it out of their highly competitive Pool A are hanging by a thread following Saturday’s heartbreaking defeat to Wales at Twickenham.
Lancaster will also need to decide whether to retain Owen Farrell and Sam Burgess, drafted in to deal with the heavyweight Welsh midfield, or recall George Ford at flyhalf and hand a second start to slippery centre Henry Slade as England seek to create more attacking threat.
England must beat Australia and Uruguay to be certain or reaching the knockout stages and head coach Stuart Lancaster admitted next week’s clash was effectively all or nothing.
“It’s a very classroom-orientated environment”, he said.
Farrell responded: “It’s disappointing, especially from someone who has not been in the environment”. I don’t blame Chris as much as I blame others.
“This environment is player-led”. I don’t buy into that [criticism] whatsoever. You guys, the whole of the nation, the crowd.
“We are all English, aren’t we?”
“I will try to impart some previous knowledge but it’s all about 8pm this weekend”. Of course we do. “Let’s get a feelgood factor throughout the country and let’s do this together”.
“My view is that he has had leaders and that he needed to have trusted them and develop them”.
“There were a couple of us and there were lads around us”, said Farrell.
Wales have got to play Australia and obviously we have got to play Australia.
“It came down to a feeling of what’s going on on the pitch at the time”, said Farrell.
Both specialist number eights Ben Morgan and Billy Vunipola have knee injuries, as does lock Courtney Lawes, who went off at halftime against Wales.
Easter, who joined the squad on Monday, said the atmosphere among the players was positive despite the defeat and dismissed Carling’s criticism.
“It was a great effort…They got on the outside of us and kicked the ball inside and it was a fairly good pick up to score”. He is very much about empowering players, giving leadership roles to players.
Wood, who has apologised to Williams, will know by Monday morning if he must face a hearing, while Lancaster has reported a mixed outlook on his wounded quintet.
“It doesn’t make any difference to me. It is all to play for and it is a massive game on Saturday”.
Farrell stated later that it was a collective decision, but there were shades of South Africa in 2012 when Robshaw made the wrong call and once again the Harlequins openside has been strongly criticised. Farrell said: “There are always different permutations that have to be worked out”. But at that time we wanted to go and win the game. “We didn’t get enough distance from Wales”.
News of the citing officer’s decision came after England had awoken to a newspaper report that they were involved in a spying row in which a man is said to have run away from Australia’s training ground after being spotted with a camera.
There are plenty of people offering advice and we’ll be keeping you up with the latest thoughts ahead of the crucial encounter.