So Stuart Lancaster needs a win in the next two games to boost his chances of landing the England job on a permanent basis. It shouldn't be like this, but unfortunately it is. And the players will sense the urgency and know what is required.
Indeed, they will feel the necessity more than anyone to beat either France in Paris on Sunday or Ireland at Twickenham a week later – or, in the dream scenario, both. They will read about and hear the clamour to bring in a big foreign name at the top and they will know what this would mean. A new coach would bring a new philosophy and a new style and they would be back to square one in the rebuilding process.
It would verge on crazy to look anywhere else than Stuart after the strides that – with Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree – he has made this season. With the overhaul of the squad, it has been a sink or swim mentality and the guys have been swimming.
I know that the Rugby Football Union has been in disarray recently and that the new chief executive, Ian Ritchie, wants to get this decision right. But there is no need to make a headline-grabbing appointment. I hope Ian looks behind the scenes and sees that it's about Stuart and his staff creating something for 2015. There's no quick fix.
Granted, there are some fantastic foreign coaches. But to head into a World Cup in England without an English management team would be a travesty. Stuart knows what English rugby is about. Certainly, Ian should pay little heed to some of the ridiculous comments emerging. I can understand that Matt O'Connor, the skills coach at Leicester, feels frustrated for Toby Flood, who has been dropped, and Ben Youngs, who will probably start on the bench in Paris. I feel for Floody, but I have no doubt he will be better for it.
But I can't agree with O'Connor if he really believes this England team take the field simply "trying not to lose". If this coaching team were afraid of losing, they would not have packed the squad with debutants. And those guys have done themselves proud so far.
England are creating their own identity. At the moment, I can see a team who have bought into the set-up and have the desire to be there to the very end and fight tooth and nail for the win. The performances will improve as they go along.
As it is, Stuart's team have two weekends to save his job. Next week must represent their best chance of that all-important win. Ireland are ageing and will arrive at HQ on the back of games on three consecutive weekends.
Paris, however, will be a mighty ask. England have enough confidence, but whether that is enough to win is another matter. Everything will have to go right. They will have to ensure their defence is as sharp as it was for most of the Welsh game, they must cut out the errors, retain the ball and limit France's incursions into the 22. Most importantly, they have to remain alert.
France are masters of capitalising on turnovers, on exploiting chaos in open play. But they showed against Ireland that maybe they aren't as good as we all thought. My head says that the task will be slightly beyond England at this stage but rugby is a game as much of the heart as the mind. I think they can sneak it.
Lewis Moody is a TAG Heuer ambassador. TAG Heuer are the official watch of England RugbyReuse content