Lancaster: Rebuilding morale is tough

Manchester - Rebuilding morale in the battered and bruised England World Cup squad has been a hard battle, their beleaguered coach Stuart Lancaster said Thursday.

Lancaster's position is under threat after the humiliating pool stage exit but he said he has spent this week speaking to the players as they approach their last Pool A game against minnows Uruguay on Saturday.

"After two defeats on the bounce it's taken some work to get everybody back in the right place," said Lancaster.

"I met all the players one-to-one on Monday and discussed their individual contributions and what they felt about the camp."

Lancaster, who replaced Martin Johnson after England's disastrous 2011 World Cup marred by lurid headlines about the squad's behaviour off the pitch, is the subject of an English RFU review into the campaign.

England are the first World Cup hosts to fail to reach the knockout stages.

But some players are reluctant to give their views to the inquiry after several of the 2011 squad found their remarks made public in leaks of the report.

"There will be a lot made out of the review that is to come," said Lancaster.

"I have no problem with the reviews, I've conducted them myself in age grade teams - 18s, 20s, Saxons - and after every tournament or Six Nations I've had there has been a review.

"The whole purpose of them is to get better."

Lancaster, who has been castigated for his team choices, said he believed the English players failure to adjust to referee Jerome Garces' manner of running the game had cost them the match against Wales.

England lost 28-25 having given up a 10 point lead.

"The disappointment of losing the Wales game highlighted for me the inability to adapt to referees," said Lancaster.

"Ultimately, we gave them points and we have to be better in that regard."

Lancaster said too much had been made of reports that fly-half Danny Cipriani and skills coach and 2003 World Cup winning back Mike Catt had a bust-up on the training ground hours after the player had been told he would not be in the World Cup squad.

"There are two sides to every story," he said.

"From my point of view, everybody knows Mike Catt pretty well.

"I saw it and I had a good chat with both of them, everybody shook hands and it was all done in a short space of time and we all moved on.

"It's no problem. Things like that happen occasionally with so many players in the camp, but it's a non-story for me."

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