RFU embarrassed by Grand Slam ad
March 22, 2011
England were hammered by Ireland in Dublin © Getty Images
The RFU has denied that England took the challenge posed by Ireland lightly after an embarrassing advertisement celebrating the Grand Slam was leaked.
The video, produced by their official kit supplier Nike, shows several players, among them Toby Flood, Chris Ashton and Ben Foden, in a series of action clips.
England were hammered 24-8 by Declan Kidney's side in Dublin on Saturday to end their hopes of a first clean sweep since 2003, making a mockery of the advert's final frame, an image of the red rose emblem on top of a caption reading 'Grand Slam Champions 2011'.
The photo shoot for the footage took place midway through the Six Nations, which England won despite their rout in Dublin. The RFU explained that filming the advert in advance was necessary for commercial reasons and have denied Ireland were taken too lightly.
"The RFU works with all its commercial partners on their sponsorship activation," a statement read. "Forward planning is a crucial part of all commercial partnerships and all contingencies, winning or losing, have to be considered.
"It is disappointing that details of Nike's internal planning has got into the public domain. In no way did the RFU or the England team underestimate the challenge that the Ireland team would pose. We were well beaten by a team who played better and we have the utmost respect for [Ireland coach] Declan Kidney and the Irish players."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry