Don't fire Lancaster, says Henry

Stuart Lancaster (Gallo)
Stuart Lancaster (Gallo)

London - Graham Henry has urged England against getting rid of coach Stuart Lancaster following the hosts' World Cup exit, saying the team "haven't got the personnel to compete at the top level of the game".

Former All Blacks coach Henry led his native New Zealand to World Cup glory on home soil four years ago after coming under pressure to quit following the team's quarter-final loss to France in 2007.

Henry, however, had a much longer and more distinguished coaching record behind him than Lancaster, who has come under intense pressure after pool defeats by Wales and Australia saw England become the first host nation to fail to reach the knockout stages of a World Cup.

Asked if Lancaster should remain in post Henry, who also coached Wales and the British and Irish Lions, told BBC Radio on Sunday: "I hope he does. I haven't got a crystal ball but I hope he does.

"I think we too often burn our coaches because that's public opinion and media opinion and you have to start all over again."

Henry added: "Stuart Lancaster is obviously a good man and he has produced a rugby side which has got good values and a good culture from a situation which wasn't so good so he's done some positive things.

"I think continuity of people is absolutely critical if you want to do something special. They know what they need to do to get better.

"If Stuart Lancaster has got the ability it's a no-brainer to me."

Henry said England's failure to get out of the group phase at the World Cup had much deeper roots than the issue of who was their head coach.

"The disappointing thing for England is they haven't got the personnel to compete at the top level of the game," said the 69-year-old.

"Quite frankly the group of players that were selected for England for this Rugby World Cup were not good enough to do the job."

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