Wilkinson hits out at teammates

2011-11-07 15:41
Jonny Wilkinson (File)

London - England flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson rounded on his teammates at the World Cup, criticising their work ethic after a group went out drinking, according to extracts from his autobiography published on Monday.

Wilkinson said he could not understand why some players felt the need to tour bars during the biggest tournament of their lives.

England's campaign in New Zealand was wracked by ill-discipline and ended in defeat in the quarter-finals to France.

In his book, "Jonny", serialised in The Times, Wilkinson reveals he asked Lewis Moody, the captain, for permission to address the squad after an unconvincing victory against Georgia in their second match.

"I tell (them) I cannot believe that our defence coach has had to ask a group of players to buckle down," he wrote.

"There’s sometimes a lack of hunger on the field, a lack of desire to get things right.

"The basics are working yourself into the ground, and the only reason you don't work hard enough is that it doesn't matter enough to you.

"What that ultimately means is that the other 29 guys in this squad don’t matter enough to you."

Video footage which emerged of England veteran Mike Tindall on a boozy night out in Queenstown haunted his team's ill-fated campaign.

Following England's exit from the tournament, centre Manu Tuilagi was warned by police after jumping from a ferry into Auckland harbour.

Wilkinson said some of his team-mates were naive to think their exploits would go unnoticed by the media.

"We’ve worked a huge amount on accountability on the field," he wrote. "The off-field thing just seems to be coming last. Some of the guys say you can’t just stop doing everything because of the media."

Wilkinson, 32, whose drop-goal secured victory for England in the 2003 World Cup final, also criticised the balls used in the tournament, saying his inability to trust how they would fly had affected him psychologically.

"Being unable to rely on my goalkicking makes performing physically and mentally draining. The organisers can claim that all the balls are the same, but they are not. It's a joke."

Manufacturers Gilbert said at the time that the balls were identical and had been individually checked.

Read more on:    rwc  |  jonny wilkinson

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