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.
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports
Wales did the All Blacks a favour with their best effort against New Zealand for many years, for 68 minutes at Millennium Stadium, Craig Dowd writes
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection