Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Damning World Cup reports leaked

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A number of England's World Cup players were "more focused on money than getting the rugby right", it was reported on Wednesday in three leaked reports that lay bare the inside story behind the shambles in New Zealand.

The Times published details of the confidential reports compiled by the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Players' Association, who surveyed players anonymously, and the Aviva Premiership clubs.

The Times quoted RFU director of elite rugby Rob Andrew's report as saying: "Some of the senior players were more focused on money rather than getting the rugby right."

As well as a number of players concerned about money, the coaching regime also came in for strong criticism.

England were eventually beaten by France in the quarter-finals, equalling their worst ever performance in a World Cup after a campaign dogged by controversy.

Team manager Martin Johnson is reportedly criticised for failing to instil discipline following a series of off-field incidents, with one unnamed player quoted as saying "he was too loyal and that was his downfall".

Captain Lewis Moody is criticised for reportedly leading a delegation of senior players to dispute the amount of money the squad were being paid for playing at the World Cup.

The Times quoted Andrew's report as saying: "It was very disappointing that a senior group, led by the captain Lewis Moody, disputed the level of payment for the World Cup squad.

"It led to meetings with RFU executives in the last few weeks before departing for NZ. This led to further unsettling of the squad."

The reports leaked to The Times were never intended to be published. The Professional Game Board, which runs elite rugby in England, are due to make recommendations based on the reports' conclusions to the RFU board on November 30.

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