ENGLAND COACH MARTIN Johnson and Mike Tindall both refused to discuss last week’s drunken night in a Queenstown bar when facing the media ahead of the Romania game.
Tindall – married to the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips – was caught up in controversy when pictured chatting up a blonde woman at the pub last week. However, he merely said that he hopes his form holds up ‘fine’ as he prepares to start the Romania match, with Johnson eager to focus only on rugby matters.
“We have put it to bed. We are looking forward to a big game, we are playing Romania,” said Johnson.
When asked if the last week had been tough, Tindall responded: “Not really, you just get on and train.
“You want to play every game and I was disappointed I didn’t get a run out last weekend but you work hard and hope you get picked by the coach every week. It is as simple as that.”
When Tindall was asked whether he would show any contrition over last week, an irked Johnson intervened:
“I said to you last week what happened, the guys went out and had a drink. We had that conversation last week,” said Johnson. “We have moved on. We have played a game and we have another one this week.”
As for the England team to face Romania, Johnson has picked a strong outfit that he hopes will not commit the same errors that riddled the win over Georgia. Tindall and Manu Tuilagi are joined by Jonny Wilkinson in midfield, while Mark Cueto has shaken off a back injury to take over from Delon Armitage on the wing.
Alex Corbisiero, lock Louis Deacon and flanker Tom Croft all come into the starting pack, while James Haskell continues in lieu of the injured Nick Easter.
England team: Ben Foden (Northampton Saints); Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby), Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks); Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers); Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Steve Thompson (London Wasps), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Lewis Moody (Bath Rugby, capt), James Haskell (Ricoh Black Rams).