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Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 19:12 UK

Johnson lays down law to England

Martin Johnson
Johnson's first game in charge of England is against the Pacific Islanders

New boss Martin Johnson has stressed the importance of discipline following England's ill-fated New Zealand tour.

England lost both Test matches while the tour was hit by serious off-pitch allegations, although suggestions of police action did not materialise.

Johnson, who took over on 1 July, said: "We sat down in a group this week and talked about responsibility.

"The players led it. We wanted them to. What the squad has been through cannot happen again. The players know that."

A number of England players embarked on a drinking session at a nightclub after losing the first Test 37-20 to the All Blacks on 14 June.

The evening ended with women returning to the team hotel and there was subsequently an allegation of serious sexual assault.

What happened doesn't reflect the calibre of the people in the squad but it's done now and we have to deal with it

Martin Johnson

No formal complaint was made to New Zealand police and the players under suspicion vehemently denied any criminal wrong-doing.

After the tour party returned home a Rugby Football Union investigation found Mike Brown and Topsy Ojo guilty of misconduct, and the duo were fined for poor time keeping.

Brown was reprimanded and fined 1,000 for "staying out all night during an England rugby tour" and missing a physiotherapist appointment.

Ojo was reprimanded and fined 500 after admitting staying out until after 0700.

Johnson, who vowed to address any disciplinary problems when he was handed the job, is confident his players have learned their lesson.

"It was clear to all the coaches that the players understood the situation and are very keen to make amends," he added.

"What happened doesn't reflect the calibre of the people in the squad but it's done now and we have to deal with it.

"We've had a couple of really good meetings. That's part of the process of being a team."

Johnson says his team need to get things right off the field if they want results on it to improve.

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"We don't think four days and two meetings makes everything all right," he explained. "It's an everyday process for all these guys and ourselves.

"It's all about being successful and we don't want the headlines we've had this year on a couple of occasions. That makes it difficult for us to operate.

"We're not doing these things to appease the media, we're doing it because we think it's the right way to be a successful team."

England will get a chance to avenge their drubbing by the All Blacks on 29 November in the last of their four autumn tests.

The Pacific Islanders (8 November), Australia (15 November) and South Africa (22 November) are their other opponents in November.

"We have tough autumn," added Johnson. "But we are genuinely looking forward to the challenge."


see also
Brown & Ojo guilty of misconduct
10 Jul 08 |  English
England 'needed Johnson example'
23 Jun 08 |  English
England four in NZ assault probe
20 Jun 08 |  UK News
New Zealand 44-12 England
21 Jun 08 |  English
New Zealand 37-20 England
14 Jun 08 |  English


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