England's World Cup squad is set to come under further
scrutiny with the RFU awaiting an official letter of complaint from team
sponsors Land Rover.
Chronic player indiscipline has overshadowed England's poor
performances on the pitch in New Zealand with Mike Tindall, Dylan Hartley and
Manu Tuilagi in particular finding their antics splashed across the papers.
And now Land Rover, who sponsor both England Rugby and the
World Cup, have gone to the IRB to express their displeasure with the team's
Land Rover took 11 players on a company day in which Land
Rover Discoverys and Range Rover Sports were provided for players' off-road use
on Muriwai Beach near Auckland.
The company complained that the England players were "arrogant
and rude" to their personnel, treated the vehicles with no care and broke
the speed limit.
Filmed footage from the day was intended for use in
advertising and promotional material but is now said to be unusable due to
England's poor attitude.
Land Rover have refused to comment publicly though, with a
spokesperson saying: "Any discussions are part of our commercial
partnership and therefore private."
Disgruntled South African fans have launched a petition on
social networking site Facebook in a bid to stop Bryce Lawrence ever refereeing
another World Cup match.
New Zealander Lawrence is copping the blame for the
Springboks' exit from the current tournament - a 11-9 loss to Australia in the
quarter-finals last week.
South Africa enjoyed 78 per cent of possession as well as
fifteen plays of more than five phases but could not get over the try-line in
Wellington as Australia snatched the win with a James O'Connor penalty nine
minutes from time.
Over 65,000 fans have joined the Facebook page called 'Petition
To Stop Bryce Lawrence Ever Reffing A Rugby Game Again' after what they saw as
his "incompetence" allegedly rob the Springboks of a semi-final
One fan on the page even went as far as to call for a
"The Boks deserve a re-match!" said Kim-Leigh
Kristen Davids. "WE DEMAND A RE-MATCH! We can beat da Aussies in our
sleep!! (without Bryce Lawrence as the ref)."
But it's not just Springbok fans who believe that Lawrence
may have refereed his last game at a World Cup.
Former South African Test referee Andre Watson, who is now
the South Africans' referees manager, has also been highly critical of Lawrence.
"He allowed a free-for-all. This meant ace Australian
fetcher (flanker) David Pocock was able to have a field day, constantly
disrupting the Springboks' flow," he told 567 Cape Talk Radio.
"It's not what you would expect from a referee of his
calibre - he didn't referee the breakdown the way he was supposed to. He just
didn't step in."