Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Rugby World Cup: England club boss apologises

Quentin Smith. Photo / Getty Images
Quentin Smith. Photo / Getty Images

England club rugby bosses have apologised to the New Zealand Rugby Union for the national team's abysmal Rugby World Cup showing.

England's doomed campaign was plagued by poor on-field performances and shoddy discipline off the pitch.

The powerful boss of club rugby, Premiership Rugby's chairman Quentin Smith, said the squad had behaved "in the absence of any contrition".

Smith told the Guardian newspaper they apologised to the NZRU and All Blacks management.

He said: "They have performed badly on and off the field as a representative body in the eyes of the International Rugby Board and in the eyes of the host nation.

"It is not our team, we are here as representatives of the Premiership ... but we felt embarrassed there hadn't been an acknowledgement that the event had been tarnished by bad behaviour.

"They thanked us. It was not a big statement. It doesn't have to be very much but it has to demonstrate acknowledgement of what has gone on - not the 'we'll sort it out when we get home' and 'hey, rugby players go out for a drink'."

This week it emerged captain Lewis Moody is to be fined for wearing an unsanctioned sponsor's mouthguard.

Teammate Manu Tuilagi was fined $10,000 for the same offence. Other embarrassments include Tuilagi jumping from a ferry on the waterfront; players hooning around Muriwai Beach in Land Rovers at a sponsors' event; the humiliation of a hotel worker in Dunedin by three players; and Mike Tindall's infamous boozy night out in Queenstown.

- Herald on Sunday

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