English rugby is at 'rock bottom' - Andrew

A "shattered" Rob Andrew admitted today he should have given England manager Martin Johnson more support but insisted he would not be resigning after a shambolic Rugby World Cup campaign.

England's campaign was dominated by off-field scandals and lacklustre on-field performances and they fell short of their stated goal of a semi-final spot with a quarter-final defeat by France.

Ultimately, this all led to Johnson's resignation last week and on Thursday he was followed by attack coach Brian Smith, increasing the pressure on Andrew, elite performance director at the governing Rugby Football Union (RFU).

Leaked reports into England's performance in New Zealand published in the The Times newspaper yesterday painted a damning portrait of a divided squad obsessed with financial gain.

But the leaks also showed how management had lost control of a squad where the drinking exploits of players, including senior figures such as Mike Tindall, caused unwanted headlines.

Andrew, who helped appoint Johnson in 2008 despite the latter's lack of any previous coaching experience, told the BBC on Thursday: "The reality of my job is that I'm not the England team manager. I'm the elite rugby director and I run a big department.

"But I absolutely accept responsibility for what is going on here.

"The players have let themselves down, the coaches have maybe not done as good a job as they should, I've not done as good a job as I should have done.

"I should have supported Martin more.

"Does it mean I'm going to resign? No, I'm not. Does it mean it's all broken? No it doesn't."

"I'm absolutely shattered by what's going both on and off the field at the moment," Andrew added. "This is rock bottom, this is the lowest of the low."

Smith, whose contract expires in December, was slated in a report based upon anonymous interviews given by England squad members to the Rugby Players' Association.

One player accused Smith of copying moves at the World Cup from rugby minnows Romania.

"When you start copying Romanian moves, you know you are in trouble," the unnamed player said.

Earlier Thursday, the RFU said there would be no verdict published on Tindall's appeal, due to be heard Thursday, against a £25,000 (A$40,000) fine for his boozy night out during the World Cup.

"The Mike Tindall hearing will take place away from Twickenham stadium and there will be no announcement today (Thursday)."

Tindall, 33, was fined and dropped from the England squad earlier this month after an RFU investigation into a players' night out in the New Zealand resort town of Queenstown during the World Cup.

The Gloucester back initially misled management about his movements on the night.

- AFP

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