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England suspends coaches for switching RWC ball

Updated: September 29, 2011, 08:01

AUCKLAND, New Zealand(AP) England suspended coaches David Alred and Paul Stridgeon on Thursday from the Rugby World Cup match against Scotland for switching the ball for Jonny Wilkinson's conversions last weekend.

The Rugby Football Union said kicking coach Alred and national fitness coach Stridgeon "mistakenly thought that there was an issue with some of the match balls'' in England's Pool C win over Romania.

England stopped switching after being warned during the game and has decided to deny the pair access to Eden Park on Saturday as punishment.

"(The behavior) was incorrect and detrimental to the image of the tournament, the game and to English rugby,'' the RFU said.

World Cup organizers have accepted the RFU's punishment in standing the two coaches down and said no further action will be taken.

"However, it must be pointed out that any similar breaches in future will be dealt with severely,'' organizers said in a statement.

Wilkinson missed five kicks at goal in the opening win over Argentina.

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