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England trio refused to pay

RUGBY: Three England players were put under pressure by the RFU to pay NZ$30,000 (€16,716) to buy the silence of a chambermaid, who had alleged she was sexually harassed during the World Cup in September.

England's James Haskell, Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley refused to pay the money.

"We refused to pay because we hadn't done what she claimed," said one of the three. "So we went to find our own lawyers in NZ because we felt the RFU QC was interested in defending the RFU's reputation rather than ours."

Rob Andrew has admitted he let Martin Johnson down during his tenure as England manager, but he has refused to resign.

Attack coach Brian Smith stood down yesterday.

Aironi put to the sword by Cardiff

RUGBY: The Cardiff Blues put a poor first half behind them to crush bottom club Aironi 38-0 and move into third place in the RaboDirect PRO12 table.

Despite only leading 12-0 at the break from four Dan Parks kicks, the Welsh region let loose after the break as Casey Laulala scored an unconverted try and fellow centre Dafydd Hewitt touched down for the second.

Stand-in full-back Tom James then raced over for the Blues' third try. Parks converted both.

And the bonus point quickly followed as replacement hooker Marc Breeze drove over.

Egan wins tester

BOXING: Ken Egan got Ireland off to a winning start at the Olympic Test Event in London.

The Dublin southpaw secured a 13-6 win over China's Xuan Bao at the ExCel, the 2012 boxing venue.

Declan Geraghty and David Oliver Joyce will be involved in quarter-final duels tomorrow.

Conrad Cummings, Tommy McCarthy and Con Sheehan have received byes into tomorrow's semi-finals.