Pressed men manage to keep joy well confined

Martin Johnson sees the England hierarchy put on to the back foot

The press-room door swung open, and in strode the coach and captain, scarcely able to contain their joy in their hour of triumph. Er, well, maybe joy is a touch over the top. Jack Rowell's toothy expression was less of a smile than that of a man having a cavity filled, while Will Carling, the former Army officer, gave the impression that he had wandered behind enemy lines and was offering nothing bar name, rank and serial number.

What a curious business, especially given the upbeat mood in the England camp beforehand. No one demonstrated this better than Ben Clarke when he was asked whether he would be out to put his Bath club-mate, Scotland's No 8 Eric Peters, in his place. "He's already in his place" Clarke said. "Playing for Bath 2nds."

At the press conference, though, the mood was mostly one of frustration - not least from journalists attempting to get Carling to be more specific about his economical comments. "There was a lot of frustration out there," Carling said. Such as? "I can't think quickly enough now," he said. "Maybe I can tell you in three or four days' time."

Readers of Carling's Sunday newspaper column, however, did not have to wait quite so long, which may have explained his temporary loss of memory when invited to enlighten a wider audience. No point in rendering the column old hat by spouting off before publication, which made it a wonder, given the fact that nearly all the England players are contracted to newspapers, that anyone said anything at all.

Carling's frustration was largely down to the fact that England did not win with any great lan, which in turn accounted for the muted celebrations. If it was a bit rich for Brian Moore to snort that the Scots had been unreasonably churlish not to allow the Underwoods to garnish the Grand Slam with an avalanche of tries, the England hooker was correct to sympathise with the spectators. Some people, apparently, paid around £750 to watch Rob Andrew hoofing over penalty kicks.

When Rowell was invited at the press conference to ponder on whether the game was a poor advertisement for England's World Cup chances, Carling gazed stonily at a side wall, doubtless attempting to conjure up pictures of the journalist's posterior on the end of Andrew's boot.

"Will the southern hemisphere sides feel encouraged after watching that?" Rowell's tormentor persisted, which set the manager's eyeballs rolling more robotically than any England maul. Then, when Rowell was invited to opine on Moore's comments about Scottish off-side tactics, Rowell had the novel idea of deciding to ask the questions himself. "What do you think?" he said, "come on, you tell me," in a way which made it difficult to believe that he was a million miles away from Moore's views on the subject.

While Rowell and Carling might have felt it was bit much, in the immediate aftermath of a grand slam, to be asked, in effect, whether there was any point in England bothering to turn up to the World Cup, it was a long way from being the daftest question ever asked at a press conference.

A now-retired tennis player, who so detested press conferences that he preferred to get fined rather than attend them, suffered the final straw when he was asked during Wimbledon: "I know you think we ask stupid questions, but if you could ask yourself one question, what would it be?" "That," came the reply, "is the most stupid question I've ever heard."

It is entirely possible that the reason Rowell became irritable at the question of where England now stand in global terms was probably because he had already asked it of himself - and was a little less certain of the answer than he had been 80 minutes earlier.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released the first teaser trailer a week early after it leaked online

Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Health & Social CareTeacher - Full time and Part time

£90 - £140 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: Sixth for...

History Teacher

£95 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Plymouth i...

SQL Developer - Cardiff - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer -...

SQL Developer - Cardiff - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer ...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?