England’s less than emphatic start to the Rugby World Cup has now got a whole lot less dignified with the news that two of their coaches have been suspended for the Pool B decider against Scotland on Saturday.
Jonny Wilkinson’s kicking coach Dave Alred and fitness specialist Paul Stridgeon are banned from entering the ground during England’s game against the Scots after they were found to have illegally swapped balls in their 67-3 rout against Romania last week.
The coaches gave Wilkinson a ball to attempt two conversions that was different to the one used to score the tries.
The RFU has subsequently suspended the coaches for the Scotland game although the Rugby World Cup organisers will take no further action.
England boss Martin Johnson said: “It’s unfortunate that we have had to take this action but ultimately there was a breach of the laws of the game.
“But it’s happened, some action has been taken and we have to move on.”
Wilkinson has been poor with the boot during this World Cup, with the all-time leading points scorer in the competition landing just 50% of his attempts at goal so far.
England are currently just 1/6 to win their game against Scotland but, with Wilkinson in such poor kicking form and the English continuing to give away countless penalties, it promises to be an extremely close game.
Meanwhile, Johnson has named his side to face the Scots and has made three changes from the team that beat Romania.
Delon Armitage will start on the left wing ahead of Mark Cueto, while lock Courtney Lawes and prop Matt Stevens are given starting berths in place of Tom Palmer and Alex Corbisiero respectively.