Friday, 26 October 2007

Telling tales

In today's Daily Telegraph Alison Kervin reports that four senior England players have claimed that England's World Cup campaign was saved by three crucial player-led meetings "involving players swearing, shouting and threatening the coaches and the managers, and telling them to 'do some f***ing work'."

Quotes such as:
"We desperately needed Brian Ashton to step in and sort it out but it was like he was frozen – a rabbit in the headlights – watching all this chaos take place..."

"The training sessions were shambolic – they were like run-arounds, not properly targeted World Cup training sessions, there was no feedback from the coaches, none of us knew what we were supposed to be doing and Brian seemed happy to think that Jonny Wilkinson would sort it all out on the pitch..."


"The players told Ashton: 'Grab this f***ing tournament by the scruff of the
neck or we're all going home'..."

are all attributed to these "four senior players" who all, conveniently, remain anonymous.

Not only, in my view, is this a cowardly attack on Ashton (who has far too much class to respond in kind), but I'd like to know what happened to the "whatever goes on tour stays on tour" code that rugby players of all creeds, colours and abilities know is sacrosanct? And, if these senior figures had such an important impact on the English World Cup campaign, it begs the question as to what on earth were they doing throughout the summer during the build up to the tournament and during the first two pools matches?

Whatever the structure of the England team management going forward and whether or not Brian Ashton remains involved, whoever is in charge should ensure that these so-called senior players do not play for England again until they have the guts to come forward, eat some humble pie and apologise. To do otherwise, to condone the actions of this gutless cabal going behind the backs of management to tell tales to the press, would be catastrophic on squad morale. Crikey, we're nearly getting as bad as the Welsh.


Anonymous said...

I thought this was a really good strong article and am surprised by your response. Players have been bickering to the press since returning from Paris and the Daily Telegraph finally put them all together and approached the players to create the full story.
I don't think 'what goes on tour, stays on tour' exists any more - you've only got to look at players' autobiographies coming out every 5 minutes to realise that. I noticed that Lawrence Dallaglio's autobiog is due out and is being serialised in the Sunday Times. Will be interesting ton see what he has to say about it all. James Spence

Total Flanker said...

Nay, nay and thrice nay!

For anyone to come out and talk about what went on behind closed doors is a complete betrayal of the squad as a whole and is nothing more than self-serving egoism.

I'm not saying that players don't have a right to tell their side of things but, if they do so, they cannot realistically expect to be trusted to represent their country again and the fact that these 4 so-called senior players chose to remain anonymous is nothing less than gutless cowardice.

And as for more revelations from Lawrence Bruno Nero "I'm not at all divisive" Dallaglio, I'll bide my time and wait and see what he has to say - but I suspect that his non-performances on the pitch during the tournament will speak volumes.

Stuey said...

Who were they? Just look at who's got books coming out soon. Very, very poor form. You don't do your dirty washing in public.