Imagine Rugby Blogs

England Antics Need Addressing

Constant behavioural problems coming from the English camp

Posted Oct 05, 2011 by Chris White

Mike Tindall has been the focus of attention

In my article last week, I wrote about how the media need to leave the England rugby team alone so they can just get on with their World Cup campaign, as opposed to trying to knock them down so they can spend the next two weeks criticising them.

While I stand by what I wrote then, I must say that the England players aren’t exactly helping themselves at present, with more indiscretions coming to light in the past week.

England scraped through a nervy 80 minutes against Scotland at the weekend, a game the Scots needed to win by a clear eight points to qualify for the quarter finals, knocking England out in the process – and for much of the game, they looked like doing just that. However, two penalties and a drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson, and a late try from Chris Ashton ensured that England came back from 9-3 down at the break, clinging onto their place at the tournament, to win the game 16-12.

A day after blundering their way into a quarter final clash with France on Saturday, coach Martin Johnson was forced to take action against three players for making inappropriate comments to a female hotel worker. James Haskell, Ashton and Dylan Hartley were all forced to apologise to the maid, just days after the players’ night out hit the headlines.

Johnson also faced new questions about centre Mike Tindall, after pictures appeared in the papers showing him in a bar that the player denied he went to after that first night out, however, the England coach said that it was “an innocent mistake”.

He also has to react to the news that Delon Armitage has been banned from the France fixture for a dangerous high tackle in the match against Scotland. The England full back has been banned for one match for the incident, but it certainly could have been longer – he can consider himself lucky there.

The very latest incident is a much more light-hearted one – in comparison. Manu Tuilagi has been fined by the World Cup organisers for breaching their sponsorship rules. Tuilagi wore a gum shield that clearly showed a brand logo, something banned under the terms of the competition.

Frankly, while I stand by my comments about the media needing to back off – and always will, they need to have some fun off the field and the press always tend to try and break England teams at the big competitions – the players need to grow up. Tindall particularly, who is always going to be in the public eye since his recent wedding to Zara Phillips. The team will not win this World Cup unless they really knuckle down.

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