Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 14:56 UK

England rugby stars face NZ probe

Hilton hotel, Auckland
The England squad are co-operating with Auckland police

New Zealand police are investigating a "serious allegation" against up to four England rugby union players after an alleged incident in a hotel room.

It was said to have occurred in a private room at the Hilton Hotel, in Auckland, early on Sunday after the defeat by New Zealand's All Blacks.

Auckland police have not confirmed the nature of their inquiry, but say no formal complaint has yet been made.

England caretaker coach Rob Andrew said they were co-operating with police.

Mr Andrew, the Rugby Football Union's (RFU) elite director of rugby, said: "While no formal complaint has been made, we are co-operating with police in their inquiries.

"The players concerned have the complete support of all the players and the management."

England centre Jamie Noon told BBC Radio 5 Live that the squad had not been distracted by the allegations, and they were "just getting on with the rugby".

An RFU spokesman said in a statement: "The England rugby team has been informed by Auckland police that an allegation has been made against four members of the England playing squad.

"In the circumstances we cannot make any other comment."

The Auckland City Criminal Investigation Branch is investigating the alleged incident, which was brought to the attention of police on Sunday evening.

'Fun time'

Police said investigating officers were receiving the "appropriate level of co-operation from the England rugby team management".

The England squad are currently in New Zealand for a two-match series against the All Blacks.

A guest at the hotel, who wished to remain anonymous, told the BBC that she had let England players into her room on Sunday morning after chatting to them previously.

"We had a knock on the door, calling out my name, wanting to come in. After a couple of minutes of them trying, we both decided to let them in," she said.

"We were chatting for a while and then one of them just ripped back the duvet off the bed and ran out of the door. I wasn't completely naked or anything."

She said that the other players had left when requested.

"I don't know what happened to any other girls but they [the players] were... probably just going round rooms," she added.

"They'd roughly found out from their team mates who had brought a girl home or whatever. They were just having a fun time, just like any other guys would."




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