Hysterical judgement of England’s night out means the truth is discarded

History has shown that no one loves a scandal like the British Press. For proof of this, you need only to look back a few months to unravelling stream of information of the Daily Mirror’s phone-hacking exploits to realise the desperate lengths a publication will go to. Rugby has had its fair share of front pages, from Lawrence Dallaglio’s drugs scandal with the News of the World through to Ben Foden’s incident with a London taxi driver in March this year. The reality is that once the headlines have been printed, as Rob Kitson rightly pointed out in the Guardian, the damage has been done. Except that occasionally, this is the clearest sign that we are ignorantly forgetting the truth.

Martin Johnson spoke before England flew out to the Rugby World Cup of how he trusted his players to be responsible. This does not mean to stay in every night studying on how to improve, but as Johnson said himself, “to enjoy the experience” of playing in a Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. There is no worse way to reflect on a poor performance in a match, win or lose, than to shut yourself away for the night in solitude. By going out for a few beers, England let off some of the pressure they would have felt throughout the tight contest against Argentina last weekend.

If playing into the hands of the headline writers, the general consensus would be to react by condemning the players for being out drinking, getting drunk and let’s be honest, having a good time. The argument is a balanced one; on the one hand these players are professionals and must be conscious of their public image, but on the other they are not schoolboys or benedictine monks. But does being in a bar having a few drinks, taking photographs with fans without any arrests or complaints mean that any reputations should have been damaged? Absolutely not.

Perhaps the reaction to both the night out in Queenstown and the bungee jumping a couple of days previous has been blown out of proportion by the fact that England did not convincingly win against Argentina last weekend, which is ludicrous in itself as it wildly undermines the quality of the Pumas side. The mentality that England’s players should not be taking part in extreme sports which are 99.9% safe is reminiscent of ridiculous Health & Safety measures found in an office.

Overall, the last week represents the difference between a vague assumption and cold hard fact. England having a good time has turned into a headline story of false raucous behaviour. The fact that a quote was needed from the owner of the Altitude bar Rich Deane to say that “no dwarf-throwing took place” by the England players, sums up the ridiculousness of the whole situation perfectly.

by Ben Coles

7 thoughts on “Hysterical judgement of England’s night out means the truth is discarded

  1. The British media is utterly pathetic when it comes to this sort of stunt.

    If they had not gone for a beer and had stayed locked in their rooms you would have commentators criticising the England camp for not allowing player latitude to loosen up and bounce back from what was a fairly horrible game. They would have blamed the management for not allowing the boys to relax and get into the spirit of the tournament.

    As it is, they went out and had a few beers. Cue, mass nonsense about the indiscipline of players and the inability to control them from a management side. Along, of course, with the old favourite sport of labelling any Brit who has a good time abroad as a lout and dangerous (hence the need for the bar manager to make his statement on the absence of midget tossing… I mean WOW. It has really got to THIS point?!?).

    I only hope that the players are not reading the papers and instead reviewing film footage of what could be improved from last weekends performance.

  2. The Mail online are now running a vote on sending Tindall home. It stands at 27% for sending him home. For what? Being naive and a bit of a prat? Or for playing badly? Or captaining a winning team that played badly?

    We have an England football team that complained out being bored during their World Cup in South Africa. Wrapping the Football players up at a World Cup didn’t bond the our players. The German Team got involved in South Africa, had a good time, bonded and far exceeded most peoples’ expectations.

    Tindall and Co are interacting with New Zealand and are bonding. We need our players to put their bodies on the line for their team mates. Hopefully we’ll see some good Rugby on Sunday with the boys playing like 15/22 mates on the same team.

    Lets hope that the team carry on interacting with New Zealand, each other and the press. Most our rugby players are quite bright with a good sense of humour,even if it is somewhat strange.

    I hope the team use this incident as a way forward.

    The guys at the Mail and other papers doing the muck spreading … you really are a heap of manure

  3. As someone else has pointed out here, these players are intelligent people, and not showing the sort of stupid behaviour we would expect from the England football team. Bonding works, as proved by Saracens last season. A couple of trips away from rugby, and enjoying each others company will do them a lot more good than harm.

    I think our press need to concentrate on the rugby, and not what the players are doing in their own time. There is one word for these people. Losers!

  4. It’s refreshing hearing opinions of people that actually watch/play/respect rugby and know what is what.

    Daily Mail’s reporting on this has been farcicle, contradicting their own article with quotes from the landlord who said that nothing outragious occured.

    People who know nothing about the sport and it’s mentally really shouldnt comment, then again the comments and articles overall on the Daily Mail are a bit of a giggle.

  5. The English press is nothing short of pathetic, they are one of the biggest reasons that English sports teams continue to struggle at world cups, be it rugby, cricket or football..

  6. Meh, we all know what the Daily Mail is about. Cheap, mainly made up, headlines, looking to cause trouble and generally make the whole of middle-England collectively gasp.

    It’s already been said that players need a break and that is all this was. Having read the article on the Daily Mail website, I’d be willing to put money on half of that stuff not actually happening. The headline halfway down is defamatory for a start. It clearly aims to say “these guys were involved in a naked jelly wrestling orgy,” which is an open lie.

    Enough of focusing on the Mail though, am I the only one who wants to go on a bender with Tinds now? What an animal, absolute legend!

  7. We all are aware of the UK press and how they operate, but really Tindall is England captain and one would think how to behave. Is the team here to pub crawl or play 10 man rugby? We do not know all the facts, but anyone with a brain would not put themselves in that position in the first place.

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