Jeremy Guscott joins critics of 'unacceptable' England

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The Independent Online

Former international Jeremy Guscott has hit out at some of England's players for what he feels has been "completely unacceptable" behaviour at the World Cup.

England's campaign in New Zealand has been dogged by controversy with two off-field incidents leading to questions about team discipline.

One was the night out in Queenstown involving Mike Tindall and a group of players while James Haskell, Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley have been reprimanded by England manager Martin Johnson for making lewd comments to a female staff member at their Dunedin hotel.

Ex-Bath and British Lions centre Guscott, who won 65 caps for England, told BBC Sport: "Martin Johnson's got a few kids that aren't acting as though they're playing for England, or at a World Cup.

"It's beyond belief, it is staggering."

He added: "The last thing Johnson wants is to be sat at a press conference having to fire fight questions from journalists.

"A few guys going out to let off some steam in Queenstown I can understand but you've got to say 'guys, you're under the microscope'.

"You're representing your country, you've got the hopes and dreams of millions of rugby supporters back home and all they're hearing is stories of messing about and drinking. It's completely unacceptable.

"This is a Rugby World Cup. If you think you're living in a goldfish bowl wait until the 2015 Rugby World Cup [in England]. They'll be under a microscope then."

England face France in the quarter-finals in Auckland this weekend.