MANCHESTER - While England's players will have the chance to put their early World Cup exit out of their minds with the return of the Premiership next week, coach Stuart Lancaster ruefully accepted it may be a while before he sees any more action.
Lancaster's future is likely to be picked over in the coming week or longer as England's Rugby Football Union conducts a review of their World Cup failure and the coach's role will probably be the number one item on the agenda.
A resounding 60-3 victory over Uruguay in their final outing on Saturday provided crumbs of comfort and, with the performances of youthful Exeter Chiefs duo Jack Nowell and Henry Slade, highlighted some areas of hope for the future.
Yet it did little to paper over the cracks caused by their embarrassing early exit as World Cup hosts after consecutive defeats by Wales and Australia.
After putting to bed questions about his future with a well-worn line about not having time to make any assessments in the build-up to the Uruguay game, Lancaster did offer a defence of his time in charge.
"I feel I've worked hard and tried to do the right thing," he told reporters at Manchester City's stadium. "I've tried to make the right decisions on what I believe rugby's founded on. Core values are important. People might call that old-fashioned, but I think it's true. "We tried to play good, exciting rugby. We've shown that in this Six Nations, scoring 18 tries, and scoring 14 in the one before that. "But we've not nailed every big moment in every big game, and that's come to hurt us, last season and in this World Cup. But I don't think that detracts from the potential of the team."
That potential will now be given the chance to grow out of the spotlight of the World Cup environment, with the opportunity to get immediately back into action at club level providing some form of tonic. "It's slightly different for coaches," Lancaster joked, "You've got to wait. A long time potentially."