England’s shambolic World Cup campaign suffered another blow after confidential RFU reports were leaked.
England’s run at the tournament was highly criticized for actions made on and off the field. While they suffered a quater-final exit against France, there were numerous reports about the players’ poor behaviour and the substandard management done by former head coach Martin Johnson and his assistants.
The RFU recently did a review on the team’s World Cup campaign, and the confidential information collected was accidentally leaked. The details criticized the management team, several senior players and the focus on earnings.
The RFU’s leaked information:
– Attack coach Brian Smith is described as ‘indecisive, out of his depth, difficult to talk to and simply not good enough’. He was also accused of looking to the Romania team for ideas. ‘When you start copying Romanian moves you know you’re in trouble,’ said one player.
- One player suggested defence coach Mike Ford ‘hasn’t moved on since 2007. In fact he’s regressed’.
- Forwards coach John Wells ‘missed serious detail in lineout play. There must be 20 coaches in the Premiership who’d be better’, said one player.
- Johnson, who resigned last week, was attacked for failing to deal properly with the fallout from the drunken night in Queenstown, which saw Mike Tindall belatedly fined for his conduct. The players union’ report said there was ‘a lack of action which reflected his inexperience. Therefore primarily he must bear considerable responsibility for these failures’. One of the players added: ‘I suppose we just wanted Johnno to have the bollocks to take action, especially after the Tindall night. He was too loyal and that was his downfall.’
- Skipper Lewis Moody, who has retired from test rugby, was criticised heavily for dealing with his agent during the tournament. ‘There was too much contact with agents, who could be distracting,’ a player said. ‘Moodos was the worst. Players should have waited until after the games/the tournament, not be discussing deals a day or two before a match. Moodos might be able to separate commercial stuff and playing, but it distracts other players and isn’t the right example to set.’
- A complaint by one player about a colleague’s reaction in the dressing room after the quarterfinal loss to France. ‘There’s £35,000 just gone down the toilet’ was the offending phrase. The complainant said the response ‘made me sick. Money shouldn’t even come into a player’s mind.’
- Accusations that senior colleagues indulged in drinking games and poked fun at those who committed wholeheartedly to training.
- Complaints from players about a lack of tight security. ‘It was a mistake not to have any security people like in 2003 and 2007,’ said one senior player. ‘This time we had two old fellas and one guy who was rumoured to have told someone the night out incident in Queenstown involving Tindall would be worth £100 000 from a newspaper.’