England are apparently already searching for a replacement for head coach Stuart Lancaster ahead of their final 2015 Rugby World Cup fixture against Uruguay on 10 October, with reports in South Africa suggesting that former Springbok Nick Mallett is set to reject an approach to take the job.
Following consecutive defeats to Wales and Australia, progression through to the quarter-finals is no longer possible and the English have also suffered the ignominy of becoming the first tournament host in history not to escape the pool phase.
Such a dreadful showing has led to much inevitable speculation over the future of Lancaster and his coaching team, all of whom are contracted until 2020. Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Ian Ritchie promised a '"360-degree review" that will take place after the team bow out of the competition following their dead-rubber contest at the Etihad Stadium and volatile emotions are allowed to cool down somewhat.
Mallett, who has taken charge of South Africa, Stade Francais and Italy among others during his coaching career, was previously considered for the same role following a disastrous 2011 World Cup campaign that was plagued by disciplinary issues off the pitch and eventually led to the resignation of Martin Johnson. But while the 58-year-old insists he was interested in taking up the position then, he has no hunger to do so four years on.
"I'm not going to consider it," he was quoted as saying by Sport24 after supposedly confirming that he had indeed received a call. "I was keen for the challenge in 2011, but not anymore. I'm enjoying my current job."
Responding to questions regarding that alleged approach for Mallett's services, Lancaster told The Guardian: "I didn't know that. I guess that's the nature of the situation we are in. For me it's about getting on with the day job and I've got enough to be thinking about to be honest."
The RFU have denied reaching out to anyone over the job. A spokesman stressed: "There is a clear process at the conclusion of England's tournament, which starts with the review. No pre-judgements have been made nor anyone contacted."
In what could well turn out to be the final game of his four-year reign, Lancaster has made eight changes to the side set to try and restore a semblance of pride against the World Cup's second-lowest ranked team. Mako Vunipola, James Haskell and Nick Easter come into the pack to deputise for Joe Marler, Tom Wood and Ben Morgan, while Danny Care, George Ford, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell and Alex Goode replace Ben Youngs, Brad Barritt, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May and Mike Brown.