Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Johnson: No regrets over night out

Martin Johnson

England manager Martin Johnson insisted he would not start locking his team in their hotel following reports about a night out in Queenstown.

Johnson gave his squad time off to have a drink and "relieve the pressure" of the World Cup last Sunday night after Mike Tindall had captained England to a 13-9 victory over Argentina. Some of the squad visited a bar which was hosting a "Mad Midget Weekender".

Johnson stated before the team left for New Zealand that he would not be imposing drinking bans on the squad and is sticking by that decision. He said: "You have got to relieve the pressure and let off steam at the right time. It was a good idea."

He added: "In the pressure of the World Cup you have got to find the opportunity to do things like that, enjoy yourself and let off a bit of steam. I had no problem with them doing that. We all know when you have a rugby team that part of it is the bonding off the field.

"I don't (feel my trust has been betrayed). We knew they were going out to have a few beers. It has been a great World Cup. On the streets of Dunedin and in Queenstown, you have players out and about and engaging with the public.

"I don't want to get away from that. I don't want to have to lock people away and not let them out - or if we do it's in VIP areas. I would rather we are out and about in the general public. I don't want to get to a stage where we are locking ourselves away in hotels on this trip."

Johnson confirmed there would be no disciplinary action arising from the night out.

"If there is a complaint and someone says one of your players has acted inappropriately then we will act on it, but the manager of the bar says the England players' behaviour was perfectly acceptable all through the evening," Johnson added.

"There is no implication from anyone there that we have heard that there has been any bad behaviour. It was guys out having a few drinks, as other teams have done in the same town during the World Cup.

"There is no difference it is just the way it has been reported. Rugby player drinks beer, shocker."