Rugby World Cup 2011: Cueto defends England team-mates' conduct

Rugby World Cup 2011: England v France

  • Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
  • Date: Saturday, 8 October
  • Kick-off: 0830 BST/ 2030 NZ

Coverage: Scores and reports on BBC website plus live text commentaries on all home nations matches; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; watch live on ITV1 & TalkSport radio

Players caught out by coverage - Cueto

England wing Mark Cueto believes the two incidents involving his team-mates at the Rugby World Cup have been "blown out of proportion".

Mike Tindall's behaviour on a night out in Queenstown was scruntinised and James Haskell, Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley were reprimanded for comments made to a female worker at their hotel.

"We're talking about two incidents in four or five weeks," Cueto, 31, told BBC Sport.

"It's been blown out of proportion."

To play the way I did and score the hat-trick, it was disappointing to find out I wasn't playing last week

England wing Mark Cueto

He added: "Things have happened. We have learned from them. We have had to learn from them and we have improved our discipline off the field.

"I don't think standards have slipped. With the Tindall thing, we are talking about a couple of guys going out for a few beers. What is wrong with that?

"If the boys can't go out and have a few beers then it is a sad world that we live in."

Team manager Martin Johnson defended Tindall's conduct after his captain's explanation of a night out in Queenstown - following the 13-9 win over Argentina on 10 September - were found to be inaccurate.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror reported that Dunedin hotel worker Annabel Newton claimed Haskell, Hartley and Ashton humiliated her with their comments.

Johnson was angered by the trio's conduct .

"We investigated the facts fully. They have been disciplined. They have been reprimanded for their behaviour and left in no doubt," said Johnson on Sunday.

Johnson angered by England trio

"If you leave yourself open for these headlines to be written it drags us all into it and that is what makes me particularly angry."

Cueto continued: "It is a reality check that such a small thing can be made into such a massive deal.

"As a group of players we have spoken about it with and without the management. We know exactly where we are at now and I am sure there will be no more stories like that to come out."

The Sale player is set to replace Delon Armitage, who is banned for Saturday's quarter-final against France in Auckland .

Cueto was dropped for the Scotland match despite scoring a hat trick in the 67-3 win against Romania on 24 September.

He revealed that he was left frustrated by the management's decision to leave him out of the final pool game.

"To play the way I did and score the hat-trick, it was disappointing to find out I wasn't playing last week," he said.

"I was 100% fit. The coaches weren't convinced I was 100%. They know me pretty well and they thought I was just lacking a little edge in that game.

"They thought I needed another week's training, get that under my belt and be OK.

"You try to convince them to change their minds and whatever else but the decision was made.

"It was something I had to deal with. I spat my dummy out on the day I was told but it is a squad effort."