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England v Scotland, Rugby World Cup, October 1
England coaching duo suspended
ESPNscrum Staff
September 29, 2011

England assistant coach Dave Alred and fitness coach Paul Stridgeon have been suspended from Saturday's World Cup game against Scotland.

England were the subject of a misconduct investigation in the wake of their 67-3 victory over Romania after they were spotted substituting balls before Jonny Wilkinson attempted "a number of conversion kicks". Law 9.8.1 states the kicker must convert tries with same ball that was touched down, unless the referee agrees it is defective. England did not consult the match officials before making the switch.

The RFU responded to the Rugby World Cup Limited investigation by conducting an internal review, which found that Alred and Stridgeon "mistakenly thought that there was an issue with some of the match balls".

The RFU statement continued: "Those team management members took it upon themselves to substitute balls during the match in contravention of both the laws of the game and the spirit of the game. The RFU fully accepts that the action of those team management members was incorrect and detrimental to the image of the tournament, the game and to English rugby.

"The RFU has therefore decided to reprimand those team management members, to warn them as to their future conduct and to suspend them from participation in England's next game, the match between England and Scotland. This suspension means that they will not be able to be in the stadium for that match in any capacity."

RWCL confirmed England will face no further sanctions, having been satisfied with the RFU's action. "Rugby World Cup Limited is appreciative of the decisive and timely action of the RFU in response to the RWCL investigation into alleged misconduct for a breach of the Laws of the Game regarding the change of balls used for placekicks by the England team during the first half of the Rugby World Cup 2011 Pool B match against Romania in Dunedin on September 24.

"RWCL recognises that the RFU has investigated this matter fully and taken appropriate action and therefore no further action is required by RWCL. RWCL accepts the RFU's assurances that it will abide by both the Laws and the Spirit of the Game going forward, however it must be pointed out that any similar breaches in future will be dealt with severely. RWCL will not be making any further comment on this matter."

England manager Martin Johnson said: "It's unfortunate we have had to take this action but ultimately there was a breach of the laws of the game. But it's happened, some action has been taken, and we have to move on."

The RFU statement in full:

Following the England v Romania RWC 2011 match in Dunedin on September 24, Rugby World Cup Limited initiated an investigation into alleged misconduct for a breach of the Laws of the Game by the England team in relation to the change in the match ball used following a number of conversion kicks in the first half of the match. The RFU responded positively and expeditiously to the RWCL enquiries.

Having conducted a thorough internal review of the matter the RFU has determined the following:

1. Two members of the RFU RWC 2011 team management, David Alred and Paul Stridgeon, mistakenly thought that there was an issue with some of the match balls used in the England v Romania RWC 2011 match.

2. Those team management members took it upon themselves to substitute balls during the match in contravention of both the Laws of the Game and the Spirit of the Game.

3. The RFU fully accepts that the action of those team management members was incorrect and detrimental to the image of the tournament, the Game and to English Rugby.

4. The RFU has therefore decided to reprimand those team management members, to warn them as to their future conduct and to suspend them from participation in England's next game, the match between England and Scotland. This suspension means that they will not be able to be in the stadium for that match in any capacity.

5. The RFU would like to assure RWCL and the IRB of its continued wholehearted support for the tournament and its rules and that the RFU and its team management and members will abide by both the Laws and the Spirit of the Game. The RFU hopes that RWCL is of the view that the RFU has taken appropriate action in this matter and that no further sanctions or actions are required.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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