Friday 24 November 2017

England’s Rugby World Cup controversies

England's World Cup campaign in New Zealand was dogged by a series of controversies and today led to a number of disciplinary measures being taken.

Mike Tindall was fined £25,000 and removed from England's elite player squad following events in Queenstown, while James Haskell and Chris Ashton were given £5,000 suspended fines following an incident in Dunedin. Dylan Hartley was cleared.

Here, we look at the incidents which caused consternation in the Red Rose camp.

September 12: England are warned by World Cup organisers to find a way to prevent numbers coming off players' jerseys. The numbers began to rub off England's black change shirts - themselves the subject of heated debate because of their similarity to New Zealand's All Black strip - during their opening win over Argentina.

September 13: Lock Courtney Lawes is handed a two-game ban after being found guilty of striking Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma with his knee.

September 15: Team manager Martin Johnson defends his players following a night out in Queenstown after the win against Argentina. Tindall, who was shown on security footage in conversation with a woman, Ashton and Hartley are among the players pictured at the Altitude bar, which was holding a "Mad Midget Weekender''. Johnson also has to defend the decision to allow some players to go bungee jumping.

September 29: The Rugby Football Union suspend assistant coach Dave Alred and fitness coach Paul Stridgeon from the World Cup game against Scotland after the pair were found to have illegally changed balls during the victory against Romania.

October 3: Delon Armitage was ruled out of the quarter-final against France after receiving a one-match ban for a "dangerous high tackle'' on Scotland's Chris Paterson.

Johnson admits to being "angry" with Ashton, Hartley and Haskell for alleged inappropriate harassment of a female hotel employee at the Scenic Southern Cross hotel.

October 4: Centre Manu Tuilagi was fined £4,800 by Rugby World Cup officials for wearing a sponsored mouthguard which contravened the IRB's strict advertising and sponsorship rules.

October 9: Tuilagi is detained by Auckland police after jumping from a ferry as it was about to berth. The 20-year-old was given a pre-charge warning for disorderly behaviour before being released back to the England team management, who were said to have been "a little bit embarrassed'' and fined him £3,000.

Press Association

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