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Details of England's World Cup reviews leaked


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Article Published: Thursday 24 November 2011


Reports into England's failed Rugby World Cup campaign have been leaked painting a picture of a team that was divided before it even left for New Zealand.

Three reports by the ugby Football Union's director of elite rugby Rob Andrew; the players' union; and professional clubs have been leaked to the Times Newspaper and details of the reports have now been revealed.

England's Rugby World Cup campaign ended at the quarter final stage when they lost to finalists France 19-12 but the tour was characterised by poor discipline and poor decisions on and off the field.

England vice captain Mike Tindall was fined 25,000 pounds for hgis drunken night out in Queenstown but the ramifications of that evening had a knock on effect in the squad and coach Martin Johnson has been criticised in the reports for failing to discipline players involved.

"I suppose we just wanted Johnno to have the (courage) to take action, especially after the Tindall night."

"He was too loyal and that was his downfall," one player has been quoted by Reuters as saying in the leaked report.

The players report was compiled by the Rugby Players Association based on anonymous interviews with more than 90 percent of the players and highlighted a divide between the senior members and the rest of the squad.

The report made a series of recommendations which all focus on discipline and more accountability and call for a stricter regime and a clear alcohol policy.

"We had meetings where 'values' were discussed but they felt like empty words," one player said in the report

Another added: "If it's the senior players leading drinking games or drinking until they can't remember anything, what example are the younger players set?"

It concluded: "This report is not setting out to absolve the players from making mistakes, as they surely did both on and off the field.

"In a culture of honesty and success ... players need to accept their shortcomings in what has to be seen as a golden opportunity gone begging."

The whole coaching set up came under fire from the players - with the exception of scrum coach Graham Rowntree, who was praised.

Players said that they were coached better at the club game and said that Martin Johnson's appointment was an accident waiting to happen.

"They'd had four years to develop a plan for the World Cup and it felt like they were doing it off-the-cuff in New Zealand," one player said.

"I've never played well in an England shirt," said another.

"I try my best but I know the game plan doesn't suit me and I'm not confident because I don't believe in what we're following."

The report said: "It is clear that (the England) environment is vastly different to those at their clubs where players are trusted, assured of ongoing support and have good working relationships with coaches and team mates who share a vision in how they operate and in all aspects of their professional lives. This needs to be urgently addressed."

There was also division in the squad over what the players were paid with Rob Andrew's report saying: "It is very disappointing that a senior group, led by the captain Lewis Moody, disputed the level of payment for the World Cup squad which led to meetings with RFU executives.

"I believe this led to a further unsettling of the squad just before departure which included a threat by the squad not to attend the World Cup send-off dinner, at Twickenham."

"It suggested that some of the senior players were more focused on money than getting the rugby right."

One player reported hearing another, after the quarter-final loss, saying: "There's 35,000 pounds ... down the toilet."

The player said: "That made me sick. Money shouldn't even come into a player's mind."

The Telegraph has since released further anonymous statements from the players which are pretty scathing.

One player complained that "too many players were chasing endorsements" while another said,"You sense for some players it was more about getting cash and caps than about getting better."

"We can't just blame the coaches for the predicament we got in. Look at France, they couldn't stand their coach and they almost won the World Cup."

It wasn't Johno, it was that Johno was surrounded by the wrong people."

"He's incredibly loyal. The coaches aren't stupid. They all make sure they get on very well with Johno."

"We just wanted Johno to have the bollocks to take action, especially after the Tindall night. He was too loyal and that was his downfall."

One player slammed Brian Smith saying, "He was out of his depth. There must be 20 coaches in the Premiership who would be better."

On kicking coach Dave Alred one player said, "We had kicking problems and yet almost every morning who do you see swanning around in a polo shirt about to play another round of golf but Alred."

Another player said,"There was a culture where it was not cool to train hard. What happened to the culture where everyone was training to be the best in the world?"

 
 
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