Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Peter Bills' World Cup blog: Arrogant England only have themselves to blame

England wing Mark Cueto was unhappy with the media coverage of the team's off-the-field behaviour

So, England wing Mark Cueto berates the media for continuing to criticise his team mates for their appalling off-the-field behaviour during this Rugby World Cup.

Well, how do you like that? Presumably, Cueto includes former England centre Jeremy Guscott in his line of fire, for daring to condemn Cueto’s errant colleagues.



I don’t know about you but I find this hard to believe. I mean, which world does Cueto inhabit? Mike Tindall, an England captain, goes into a New Zealand bar, gets himself awash with alcohol and canoodles with some woman in full view of everyone else in the place.



Then, when confronted about his activities that night, he lies to people to cover his tracks. Following that unsavoury affair, England then try to hush up the fact that three more of their players verbally abused a New Zealand woman in a hotel.



Of course, the truth finally dribbled out, as it was always going to. They are forced to apologise to the woman in question.



When you consider, as Guscott rightly said, that these are young men privileged to be able to represent their country at a World Cup, you have to shake your head in wonderment at such behaviour. I’d just ask this – are these players mentally deficient or just plain dumb? Whatever the truth, they’re most certainly bloody arrogant.



If it were members of the Fourth Estate going out and getting awash with booze, people would say well, what do you expect? But at this World Cup, it seems that the media boys are too busy trying to keep up with all the shenanigans of the England players, to get a drink themselves.



I would ask this. How can these idiots call themselves ‘professionals’ when they behave in such a rank amateurish way? Whatever they are, they’re certainly not being professional.



Professional people don’t go out and behave in this way, especially if they are top level sportsmen.



I’m not being naïve here. I’m perfectly sure that the players of all the countries at this Rugby World Cup have, at times, been out and had a few beers. And I don’t see anything wrong with that. You can’t expect players to live and behave like monks for seven weeks.



After their superb win over Australia, Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll said “We will have a great night.”

I’m quite sure he didn’t mean they’d have an extra glass of milk before turning in for the night at 10 o’clock. But teams like Ireland seem able to have a good night without getting washed out with booze. And their general behaviour seems in a different league to that of England.



Anyone has to be dismayed at the way England have behaved during this tournament. It’s no wonder that apparently the RFU want manager Martin Johnson to take a tougher line with his players.



But maybe it’s a bit late for that. Their reputation was shot to pieces ages ago. And they only have themselves to blame.



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