herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Johnson is relaxed about players letting off steam

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, even before the team left for New Zealand, that he would not be imposing drinking bans on the squad, and decided to stick by that decision today.

"You have got to relieve the pressure and let off steam at the right time. It was a good idea," Johnson said. "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, part of it is the bonding off the field.

Beers

"I don't (feel my trust has been betrayed). We knew they were going out to have a few beers."

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 throughout the evening," he 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."

Lewis Moody, meanwhile, has returned from injury to captain an England team featuring nine changes for Sunday's Rugby World Cup appointment against Georgia.

Moody missed last weekend's victory over Argentina after suffering knee ligament damage in England's first warm-up international against Wales on August 6.

ENGLAND: B Foden; C Ashton, M Tuilagi, S Hape, D Armitage; T Flood, B Youngs; M Stevens, D Hartley, D Cole, S Shaw, T Palmer, T Wood, L Moody (capt), N Easter.

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