England coaches banned from dressing room

World Cup organisers on Friday sanctioned England assistant coaches Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree for making an illegal half-time approach to match officials during the hosts’ 33-13 defeat to Australia.

The duo will “have restricted access to the England changing room and tunnel for England’s final Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool A match against Uruguay”, said organisers.

They will be able to resume full coaching duties on Sunday, the day after England’s interest in the World Cup ends.

Farrell and Rowntree – who along with head coach Stuart Lancaster are under review after the first round exit – admitted they had breached protocol at a World Rugby hearing on Friday.

Backs coach Farrell, who has had to deny reports he played an overly influential role in England’s selection policy, and forwards coach Rowntree, approached referee Romain Poite at the break with England trailing 17-3 and having been penalised several times at the scrum.

It is the latest in a series of blows to the England side since the loss to Australia consigned them to the ignominy of becoming the first host nation to fail to reach the knockout stages.

The judicial officer reviewed close circuit television and “determined that there was a breach by each of the coaches of the match officials protocol as the teams entered the tunnel at halftime,” said a statement.

“He determined that this action could not be described as an insignificant incident.”

Farrell and Rowntree will not be allowed near the tunnel or changing room area from 15 minutes before kickoff, during halftime and for 10 minutes after the game has finished.

They will have to remain in the designated coaches’ box or in seating reserved for non-playing team members.

Farrell, Rowntree and the English Rugby Football Union were also reprimanded and warned about their “future conduct” especially toward match officials.

Aside from that incident, Lancaster has been in the firing line all week since England lost to Australia.

The Rugby Football Union admitted there had been a “bust-up” between skills coach Mike Catt and volatile fly-half Danny Cipriani hours after the latter had been told he would not be in the squad.

However, they denied it had almost sparked a mutiny within the squad.

It was also reported several of the squad were reluctant to contribute to the post mortem on the campaign fearing their views will be publicised as happened to the players following the 2011 World Cup review when they had been told they would be kept confidential.

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