England coaches suspended

2011-09-29 10:01

Auckland - England made further unwanted headlines on Thursday when they suspended two coaches for illegally swapping match balls, as the Rugby World Cup prepared for the make-or-break last round of pool matches.

Kicking coach Dave Alred and strength and conditioning staffer Paul Stridgeon were reprimanded and barred from Auckland's Eden Park stadium for Saturday's game against Scotland following the incident last week.

The two admitted using different balls for conversions than the one used to score the tries, which is against rugby rules, during England's 67-3 win in Dunedin against Romania. They were warned twice by referee Romain Poite.

"Two members of the team management, David Alred and Paul Stridgeon, mistakenly thought that there was an issue with some of the match balls," said a statement from England's Rugby Football Union (RFU).

"Those team management members took it upon themselves to substitute balls during the match in contravention of both the laws of the game and the spirit of the game.

"The RFU fully accepts that the action of those team management members was incorrect and detrimental to the image of the tournament, the game and to English rugby."

England have had to deal with a number of untoward incidents including stories about centre Mike Tindall, who was seen embracing a blonde woman at a dwarf-throwing contest, just weeks after marrying royal heir Zara Phillips.

And lock Courtney Lawes became the first player to be suspended at the World Cup after kneeing Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma in the head during a tackle.

Wilkinson insisted the latest problem had not distracted the team from preparations to face Scotland at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday, where both teams can clinch a quarter-final spot.

"You'd be surprised that it doesn't impact upon the rugby side of things. There's two sides of life when you're out here, you're on the field and off the field," he told reporters earlier.

Lawes returned to the England team after serving his two-match ban while coach Martin Johnson preferred Delon Armitage on the wing to Mark Cueto, despite his hat-trick of tries against Romania.

"Delon has played very well. We're very comfortable with him playing there and Mark has obviously had limited game time since he's been here, so another good week of training for him will be great," said Johnson.

Scotland made six changes for the game while Australia, who face Russia, are in the midst of an injury crisis so severe they named a backrower on the wing with two scrumhalves and two hookers on the bench to make up the numbers.

"We've got four backs coming back to us next week so (injuries) shouldn't be an issue going forward - unless we have a train smash this weekend," said coach Robbie Deans, fearing further casualties in Saturday's game.

France are likely to book their quarter-final berth against Tonga on Saturday and Wales also have a straightforward task against Fiji.

But Ireland and Italy face a Six Nations shoot-out for a qualifying spot in the very last pool game on Sunday, with the winners due to join Australia in the next round.


  • sonnyg - 2011-09-29 10:13

    That is just not cricket.

      Gazza69 - 2011-09-29 10:22

      Cheats!!! Chuck them out of the WC!

      Bellakanoose - 2011-09-29 10:25

      Grandpa Johnny needs all the help he can get...

      Kerr - 2011-09-29 10:37

      Mike Tindall was at Dwarf throwing contest BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... that has to be the funniest thing Ive read in a long time hahaha. Cmon Boks, do the business!

      Zeus vdm - 2011-09-29 11:15

      No Dwarfs, just Bokke tossing the English around that made them look like dwarfs, LOL

      Otello - 2011-09-29 13:58

      As they say in the Classics, "Uitgevang!" Sies.

  • robadog - 2011-09-29 10:19

    deliberatly influencing the outcome. the result should be reversed.

      OZNOB - 2011-09-29 12:25

      no they should have 10 points deducted from what they have earned and they have to re qualify for the next 4 world cups irrespective of where they come

  • Andrew Griffiths - 2011-09-29 10:20

    Why do it in a match against a minnow? Testing the waters to see how their cheating would go down and if they could get away with it. Must have been an instruction from Wilkinson.

      Grant - 2011-09-29 10:40

      Nail on the head, dude! Testing the waters! If they got away with it, they would have done it in the big games too. England management (and Wilkinson) had ALREADY commented early on about the new type of ball making kicking difficult... now they replace the ball because they "mistakenly thought something was wrong with some of the match balls"!!? What a load of cr@p! I agree with robadog - the result of the game should be reversed. England were blatantly cheating, and quite frankly, its the only incident of this type of under-handed cheating I can think of occurring in rugby!! Disgusting!

      birdman - 2011-09-29 11:23

      England have always been in the spotlight when it comes to "ball tampering"

  • Jakalas - 2011-09-29 10:20

    I think the Poms should forfeit the game :)

  • Draconian - 2011-09-29 10:24

    Come on " BONNIE SCOTLAND!!! " send them homewards tae think again!!!! Come on " IRELAND " hammer those Ities!

  • Will99 - 2011-09-29 10:52

    Sounds like the Poms!

  • geewiz - 2011-09-29 10:55

    "Two members of the team management, David Alred and Paul Stridgeon, mistakenly thought that there was an issue with some of the match balls," said a statement from England's Rugby Football Union (RFU). Yes, and Julius is a very friendly, kind-hearted gentleman. GUTLESS CHEATS, THE WHOLE BUNCH OF THEM! GAAN MAN! LET THEM BE THE FIRST TEAM EVER TO BE TOSSED OUT OF THE WORLD CUP! But the IRB is too concerned about the back-end money they receive.

  • Bill - 2011-09-29 11:02

    How come Jonny "GOLDEN BOY' Wilkenson is so worried about the balls? Morne and Frans is Kicking them from all over. The fact of the matter is that the praying hands haven't got it anymore

      kosie - 2011-09-29 14:31

      they play with mitre balls up north and the only time they play with gilbert is in the world cup or when they tour down south,and every time they complain about the ball, they should just swap to gilbert all around and then they will be used to the balls and no more complaining

  • Justin - 2011-09-29 11:03

    Surely England should forfeit the match for this. It is against the rules, therefore they cheated, therefore they should forfeit that game...

  • Richard - 2011-09-29 11:14

    The match balls are brand new. Once they have been kicked for several hours, the sweet spot on them expands, making kicking easier/more accurate. The poms were changing the brand-new ball for balls that had been 'kicked in' and had a bigger sweet spot. The smallness of the sweet spot suits the all blacks who want to see games decided by tries not kicking. In the knockout stages the All Blacks rate their try scoring skills as better than other teams. Makes me wonder if this new ball has been further doctored by the All Blacks. Desperate they are to win.

  • Christo - 2011-09-29 11:36

    Integrity; sportsmanship; pride: If there are three words that make up the foundation of the sporting world, these three would most certainly be at the top of the list. All sports are built on a drive to improve, the chance to compete against your peers, and the opportunity to build strong bonds with others. To many sports are the building block for life. But for all those that grow and mature through sports, there are those that take the game a little too seriously. To those few the difference between winning and losing isn’t an option. So instead of trying harder and training longer they cheat. And when a cheater gets going and succeeds in pulling on over on the competition, chances are good he’ll do it again. And again. And again.

  • Bob - 2011-09-29 11:58

    Can only begin to imagine the headlines across world news if the Boks did a similar thing.

  • Peter - 2011-09-29 12:03

    England doing something wrong naughty naughty , I wonder what SOUTH AFRICA will do to try to beat that, bribe the ref or something like that. Just you wait they always do something illegal along the line dont they, win ar any cost attitude as usual Pete

      wayneoK - 2011-09-29 12:26

      Peter, no lies dude, that is one of the most brain dead comments I have ever read.

      Leonard - 2011-09-29 14:19

      I don't think it was peter commenting .I think it was the baby he is holding .

  • Yip - 2011-09-29 12:06

    Hahahahahahahahaha! Cheaters!!

  • Bed Rock - 2011-09-29 12:07

    What an Excellent team England are. You all just jealous as they are the best team in the WC. Go England Go.

      Stephan - 2011-09-29 12:27

      Bed Rock, are you aware that we are talking about the 2011 WC? For a moment there I was under the impression it is back to the future with you (read 2003)...

      Not Black - 2011-09-29 13:32

      Just like their Cricket team that got to No 1 with 4 SA Players. What's next, get 15 Sa born Rugby players? Get a life, you Poms may have invented some sports but it's your Colonies that keeps Winning . Ha ha ha ha ha

      No Viejon - 2011-09-29 14:48

      @Bed Rock - Non Poms in England team: Joe Simpson (Sydney, Australia), Delon Armitage (San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago), Alex Corbisiero (New York, USA), Matt Stevens (Durban, South Africa), Dylan Hartley (Rotorua, New Zealand), Simon Shaw (Nairobi, Kenya), Shontayne Hape (Auckland, New Zealand), Manu Tuilagi (Moto'otua, Samoa)

  • theunsvw - 2011-09-29 12:17

    "MATCHFIXING.....!" What a scandal poor Romania........Romain Poite got the same ring to it though.

  • camissa - 2011-09-29 13:01

    Once a cheat, always a cheat. Reminds me of Michael Atherton taking grit out of his pocket to spoil the ball when they played at Newlands if memory serves correct. And to think he was their captain at the time. But then again, you set yourself up for huge dissappointment if you were to expect any better from them.

  • Ruggerman - 2011-09-29 13:33

    Whichever way you look at it it is cheating. England should be sent home. There is no room for cheating in sport. Note the crappy excuse... ' mistakenly thought that there was an issue with some of the match balls,'. What a load of old cock! Blatant cheating, plain and simple!

  • sharkbait - 2011-09-29 13:48

    England should have their points stripping and they should be awarded to Romania

  • umbertoeco - 2011-09-29 14:07

    Hey! Cheating on wives, cheating on the field. Whats the big deal? Everyone does it.

  • Chris L - 2011-09-29 14:08

    Thats cheating! England should be disqualified from the tournament. They would demand nothing less from any other team that did this.

  • Sunray33 - 2011-09-29 14:40

    Cheats....c'mon Scotland the em !!

  • Ruggerman - 2011-09-29 15:29

    I suggest everyone goes to and posts a comment! I have.

  • jon - 2011-09-30 11:31


  • mikegd - 2011-09-30 12:21

    I'm really sad and embarrassed that they should do this. If they forfeit their tournament so be it.

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