/ Rugby

England trio in trouble for hotel worker incident

Updated: Sunday, 02 Oct 2011 19:26

Martin Johnson - "What they thought was humour and a light-hearted exchange has clearly not been taken that way by Annabel, the girl involved."
Martin Johnson - "What they thought was humour and a light-hearted exchange has clearly not been taken that way by Annabel, the girl involved."

England’s off-field problems continue to overshadow their World Cup after it was revealed that Martin Johnson had to make three players apologise to a hotel worker over lewd sexual remarks.

James Haskell, Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton took a hotel worker’s walkie-talkie and then videotaped her and made suggestive comments when she went to their room to retrieve it, according to a report in the Sunday Mirror.

23-year-old Annabel Newton said: “I was a joke to them. Afterwards they couldn’t understand what they did wrong. Those players treated me with no respect.”

“Someone said, ‘I don’t have the radio, I’m about to have a shower.’ I said, ‘Open up, I know you have it.’

“Dylan (Hartley) opened the door, wearing just a towel. He said there’s no one else here, come in and look for it.”

She added that when she entered, Ashton and Haskell were also in the room.

“I’m just 5ft 1in tall, and these guys towered over me. They were the tallest guys I have ever seen.

“I remember saying, ‘Please, give me the radio, I have to get snacks and let the kitchen know what food to prepare'.

“I just remember James’ stupid grin. He thought it was hilarious. Dylan was on the bed," she added.

“Then they got out a video camera and started to film me. I tried to hide my face, saying I’m working.”

During the incident James Haskell allegedly shouted: “I want an Aussie kiss”.

She eventually found the walkie-talkie in a wardrobe.

The incident happened two days before the Mike Tindall bar controversy and Martin Johnson was disappointed at again having to answer questions unrelated to rugby.

"When you are at a World Cup you can regard yourself as being in a little bit of a bubble at times,” the England coach said.

"The way they speak to each other and amongst the group is different. They're a group of young men, he said.

"They need to understand that's not always the way you handle yourself when you're speaking with other people.

"What they thought was humour and a light-hearted exchange has clearly not been taken that way by Annabel, the girl involved.

"At the time they apologised when they realised they had stepped over the mark. They had no idea how upset she subsequently became.

"We were in Queenstown for a few days. When we returned I spoke to the hotel manager, apologised to him for the disturbance we had caused to him and his staff.

"The guys formally apologised. They were shocked when they understood how upset she had become.

"We investigated the facts fully. They have been disciplined. They have been reprimanded for their behaviour and left in no doubt.

"If you leave yourself open for these headlines to be written it drags us all into it and that is what makes me particularly angry.

"It's not where we want to be. We've just fought through with huge character to win a place in the quarter-finals.

"That's a positive and on the Sunday we're talking about three guys, all of whom played well yesterday, overstepping the mark and there's a story in a national newspaper."

England topped Pool B and face France in a quarter-final next week but their 100 per cent record on the field has been overshadowed by disciplinary issues surrounding a night out and the banning of two members of the coaching staff for ball switching in the Romania game.

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