Damning World Cup reports leaked

A number of England's World Cup players were "more focused on money than getting the rugby right", according to leaked reports published in The Times.

The reports were compiled by the Rugby Football Union, the Premiership clubs and Rugby Players' Association (RPA), which interviewed players anonymously.

The RFU document reveals a delegation of senior players disputed the amount of money the squad were paid.

England manager Martin Johnson and his coaching team are also criticised.

England, who were dogged by disciplinary problems throughout the tournament, were beaten by France in the quarter-finals, equalling their worst ever performance in a World Cup.

JOHNSON'S ENGLAND RECORD

  • Games coached - 38
  • Wins - 21
  • Defeats - 16
  • Draws - 1
  • Points for - 826
  • Points against - 652
  • Winning rate - 55.3%

The three reports on England's performance in New Zealand were submitted to the Professional Game Board (PGB) last week. The reports were never intended to be published and the BBC has not seen them.

The PGB, which runs elite rugby in England, is due to make recommendations based on the reports' conclusions to the RFU management board on 30 November.

The Times says team manager Johnson, who resigned last week, is criticised in the RPA submission for failing to instil discipline in the squad following a series of off-field incidents, with one unnamed player quoted as saying "he was too loyal and that was his downfall".

The RFU report, produced by elite director of rugby Rob Andrew, is critical of the fact that England players were disputing the World Cup payments they would receive on the eve of the tournament.

"It was very disappointing that a senior group disputed the level of payment for the World Cup squad," Andrew is quoted as saying.

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

"Some of the senior players were more focused on money rather than getting the rugby right."

In a statement PGB Chairman Ian Metcalfe said he was "disappointed and frustrated that confidential reports had been put into the public domain".

"All involved were promised that their views would remain private for the ultimate goal of improving the England team. The reporting of selective elements of those documents is also counter-productive to that aim," he added.

"There will naturally be a wide range of views surrounding the Rugby World Cup and the PGB review was set up to take into account all feedback from all parties."