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England behaviour stunned Carling

Will Carling has branded certain England players' behaviour during the World Cup as "an insult to the shirt".

England exited the tournament 10 days ago, but former England captain Carling remains furious about a campaign when Martin Johnson's squad at times became a laughing stock.

"I don't understand it," Carling said. "I just think the values system seems to have been lost in the England team, and I am not sure where it has gone. A lot of them, the way they behaved down here was an insult to the shirt."

Their stay in New Zealand was overshadowed by players' raucous behaviour at a bar in Queenstown, before three players - Chris Ashton, James Haskell and Dylan Hartley - were forced to apologise to a female hotel worker in Dunedin for lecherous comments.

Centre Manu Tuilagi was then fined £3,000 by the RFU for diving off a ferry into Auckland Harbour as England's wretched stay in New Zealand drew to a close.

On the field, England performed with little ambition or adventure, grinding out narrow victories over Argentina and Scotland before exiting the competition against a limited French side.

He added: "I hope whoever forms the new coaching team sits back down with these players and some of the players grow up a wee bit and understand the honour of putting on that shirt. I am not being funny, but to blame the media is an easy excuse.

"There is part of the media that love that (type of story), but there is a naivety to actually give them (the papers) a chance to start going down that line.

"I didn't see what was wrong with guys going to a bar and having some beers. I don't have an issue with that at all, and I don't think anyone ever would.

"Some of the other stuff, it was naive and it was stupid, but the day rugby players cannot go out in public to a bar and have a beer, that's a very sad day. The rest of it was naive and irresponsible, and you can't defend it. The majority of the guys didn't get involved in anything stupid, but all it takes is four or five of them."


From Belfast Telegraph