Martin Johnson defends England players

Anyone who's ever spent any time around rugby players knows that they like to drink, and when they go into a bar is usually for the best if you leave. Why? Because they're mostly massive and muscular, loud and lairy, and when they get a drink in them they want to start acting like complete scrotums, sticking things up each other's orifices and puking in buckets.

So it should hardly come as a surprise that there were dwarf-related antics when the England players went out on the razz the other night, after beating Argentina 13-9. The Sun (surprise, surprise) led a moral crusade to unveil the 'shocking' behaviour of captain Mike Tindall, Chris Ashton, Toby Flood and Dylan Hartley in a bar in Queenstown, but coach Martin Johnson doesn't see, to see a problem.

'You have got to relieve the pressure and let off steam at the right time,' said Johnson. 'It was a good idea. I don't want to have to lock people away and not let them out.

'Rugby player drinks beer, shocker. I don't (feel my trust has been betrayed). We knew they were going out to have a few beers. I had no problem with them doing that. We all know when you have a rugby team that part of it is the bonding off the field.

'If there is a complaint and someone says one of your players has acted inappropriately then we will act on it. But the manager of the bar says the England players' behaviour was perfectly acceptable all through the evening. There is no implication from anyone there that we have heard that there has been any bad behaviour. It was guys out having a few drinks, as other teams have done in the same town during the World Cup.'

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