England coach Eddie Jones has axed Stuart Lancaster's entire backroom coaching team of Mike Catt, Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree with immediate effect. The trio were all involved as England recorded their worst ever finish at a Rugby World Cup as the hosts failed to qualify from the pool stage.
Lancaster was the victim of a five-man Rugby Football Union review into the reasons behind England's performances, leading to the appointment of Jones in November 2015 on a four-year deal. The Australian had pledged to thoroughly appraise the role of Catt, Farrell and Rowntree – who were each contracted until 2020 – but that assessment has led to their exit from the international stage.
"Having met with all of the coaches to talk through the future direction, we felt it was the right time to make changes," said Jones. "They are all experienced guys and have contributed greatly to this England team over recent years, and I know everyone at the Union is appreciative of their hard work and commitment. On behalf of the players that have benefited from their coaching and RFU, I wish them the very best for the future.
"I just feel at this stage we need to have some new thoughts and ideas come in. That is why I have decided to let those three coaches go. One of the most unpleasant things is to let people go. You try to give people due process. Obviously I spoke to a lot of people about what happened with England, got a lot of views from players and other coaches. [I am looking for] guys can work with me, understand my philosophy of play, add to my philosophy of players and add to England going forward."
Saracens' Paul Gustard and Bristol's Steve Borthwick are expected to become the first appointments to Jones' backroom team in time for the Six Nations Championship starting in February. Gustard is currently considering an offer from the RFU while Borthwick was assistant to Jones during Japan's World Cup campaign.