England set to get tough
Jeff Blackett has reminded England players that their rising public profiles demand certain standards of behaviour.
Last Updated: 13/07/08 6:27pm
Rugby Football Union chief disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett has reminded England players that their rising public profiles demand certain standards of behaviour.
The warning comes in the aftermath of Blackett's investigation into allegations of sexual assault on the recent tour of New Zealand.
Topsy Ojo and Mike Brown were found guilty of misconduct and reprimanded with the London Irish wing fined £500 for staying out all night, while Brown was fined £1000 for staying out all night and arriving late for a physiotherapist appointment.
But the inquiry into events shortly after England had been beaten 37-20 by the All Blacks in Auckland on June 14 cleared David Strettle and Danny Care of any wrongdoing.
Ojo, Brown, Care and a fourth unnamed player were at the centre of allegations made by a woman who returned to the team hotel, however she made no formal complaint to the police against the quartet, who denied any wrongdoing.
On Thursday, Blackett maintained that Strettle had no involvement in the incident at all and was not on the list of people New Zealand police wanted to interview.
Blackett, who conducted the investigation, has urged all England players to take more responsibility for their actions in the future.
"Any alleged misdemeanours relating to staying out too late, drinking or missing appointments have been brought to public attention," he said.
"As such they must be marked in such a way as to remind players in the future that their standards of conduct when playing for England must be of the highest order.
"With the status of an England rugby international player comes the obligation to act even more carefully than other members of the public.
"They must not put themselves in positions where their integrity may be compromised.
"Players must constantly remind themselves that they now have high public profiles and there will be those, particularly in the tabloid press, who will actively seek stories about their personal lives.
"On this tour there was no prohibition on taking young unknown female guests back to the team hotel and in my view that prohibition should now be included as part of any new code of conduct."