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Moody admits regrets over bar visit

Lewis Moody has admitted he wished he had done more to stop the infamous trip to a New Zealand bar which undermined England's World Cup campaign.

England's stay in New Zealand was overshadowed by players' raucous behaviour at the Altitude bar in Queenstown following the narrow win over Argentina. The players attended an event dubbed the "Mad Midget Weekender" with Mike Tindall, who recently married Zara Phillips, the Queen's granddaughter, bearing the brunt of the criticism after he was shown in conversation with another woman.

Moody, who revealed he was leaving the bar as Tindall's group was arriving, admitted he regretted not telling them to head home. The 33-year-old flanker, who announced his retirement from international duty after 71 Tests, told the Mail on Sunday: "We were given an evening off to have food and socialise."

He added: "I ate spare ribs and drank a couple of pints of cider and a pint of shandy over the course of the evening.

"I went to Altitude about 9pm to watch the rugby on television. The dwarves were entertaining the crowd but we were getting more and more attention in terms of people wanting autographs and their photo taken with us.

"By 9.30pm I was not comfortable - I am very aware of my position as England captain - and I left around 10pm. I was leaving as the other group were arriving.

"In hindsight I would have loved to have said to them all, 'Let's go,' to have made everyone come home with me. But we are all grown men and the reality is that we decided not to impose an alcohol ban. You need a team to bond and rugby players traditionally do that by having a few beers and a bit of a laugh.

"We are professionals; we trust each other to have the responsibilities of the team at heart, to make choices knowing that what you do as an individual affects the team.

"We talked at length before the tournament about teamship. There were rules in place. We talked about conduct, about what was acceptable and what was not. But you can only make people aware, you can tell them and tell them and they have to get burned before they understand. It is the most bitterly annoying thing imaginable."

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