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Rugby World Cup 2011
Cueto begs press to lay off players
ESPNscrum Staff
October 3, 2011
England wing Mark Cueto enjoys a joke with the media, England press conference, Rugby World Cup, Auckland, New Zealand, October 3, 2011
Mark Cueto wants the media to give team-mate Mike Tindall a break © Getty Images
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Mark Cueto has pleaded with the media to stop writing stories about England's off-field behaviour, insisting that the players are not ill-disciplined.

England's Rugby World Cup campaign has been overshadowed by a tabloid scandal involving centre Mike Tindall, the husband of the Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips, and an incident which led to James Haskell, Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton being forced to make an apology for lewd comments made to a female member of staff at the team hotel.

The controversies have created the impression that team manager Martin Johnson has lot control of his players but Cueto insists that everything is being blown out of proportion by the press.

"There's been a couple of things gone on, you know the goldfish bowl that we're in, in another country it may have been nothing, but here it's a big deal," the 31-year-old said.

"It's not that something's happening every day but it's probably two things that have happened and it's being reported every day so that's down to you guys.

"You need to move on and start writing about other stuff. I don't think we're ill-disciplined off the field at all."

Cueto feels that media have been particularly harsh on Tindall, who made the headlines after the emergence of CCTV footage of him with a mystery blonde on a night in Queenstown with some of his team-mates.

"You ran the story for 10 days, it's horrendous, give the guy a break," the winger said. "You're talking about a couple of guys going out for a beer, that's bottom line what happened, what's wrong with that? If the boys can't go out and have a couple of beers, it's a sad world we live in."

England's discipline on the field has also been a major issue. Indeed, not once in their four games to date have they managed to concede less than 10 penalties.

"We haven't been quite at that level for quite a while," Cueto said. "But on the other hand, test matches are tough and if you try to hard to be whiter than white, you give too much away.

"Silly penalties you've got to get rid of but there are a few which are 50-50 and they're not going our way."

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