Leaking of WC reports leave England Red faced

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Official reports on England’s ill-fated World Cup campaign leaked to The Times make for grim reading, detailing a divided and indisciplined squad obsessed with money. England’s stay in New Zealand was dominated by off-field scandals and on-field failings, before the team made an ignominious exit in a quarter-final defeat by France.

The reports are by the Rugby Football Union’s director of elite rugby Rob Andrew, the players’ union and the professional clubs and were not intended to be seen by the public.

The Rugby Players’ Association report was based on anonymous interviews with more than 90 per cent of the players, The Times reported, and it highlighted a divide between the senior members and the rest of the squad.

It made a series of recommendations on discipline – including more accountability, 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, while 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 entire coaching set-up came under fire in the players’ report, except for scrum coach Graham Rowntree, who was praised.

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