Imagine Rugby Blogs

Johnson Defends England Team Night Out

England coach rejects the media's accusations of unprofessionalism

Posted Sep 16, 2011 by Chris White

The England team were simply letting off steam after their opening victory

After the team came in for a great deal of media criticism for going out in Queenstown following the 13-9 World Cup win against Argentina, England coach Martin Johnson defended the actions of his players, saying that they “needed to let off steam.”

The England performance against the Pumas in their opening pool match wasn’t that of potential champions, and pictures printed in the Sun newspaper in the UK showed several of the team enjoying a few beers around the town.

The criticism the team and the management have received is absolutely ridiculous. The players had almost a week between matches and they’re in a country where the only people they’re familiar with are each other. Spending a month with the same twenty people locked up in a hotel room is not good for team morale. There will inevitably be fall-outs and disagreements that aren’t good for a team hoping to bring home the Webb Ellis Trophy.

Going out socialising and letting their hair down is the best possible way to not only relax, but also to have some fun. It is a professional sport so they should be professional – and as long as they are on the field, then they’re doing their jobs. Going out for a few beers after a match, in my eyes, is fine. If the team were playing again three days later, there could have been an issue, but there wasn’t. It was a form of release that the players needed.

Unfortunately, the press have seen the photos of the likes of Mike Tindall and Chris Ashton among others and decided that, just with the English football team, they need to cause some kind of disruption in the camp to hammer them on their arrival into Heathrow at the earliest opportunity.

Makes you ashamed to be English sometimes.

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