England coaches banned in ball scandal

Two England coaches have been banned for swapping the ball prior to Jonny Wilkinson's kicks.

Story highlights

  • England have banned two coaches from their World Cup clash with Scotland
  • Dave Aldred and fitness coach Paul Stridgeon not allowed into Eden Park
  • The two illegally switched balls during a 67-3 win over Romania on September 24
Two members of the England coaching staff have been banned from their crucial Rugby World Cup clash with Scotland on Saturday for illegally switching the match ball during a win against Romania.
Kicking coach Dave Aldred and fitness coach Paul Stridgeon will not be allowed into the match at Eden Park after changing the ball before two of flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson's conversions in England's 67-3 victory on October 24.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU), the body in charge of English rugby, acted swiftly to ban the duo and Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) confirmed no further sanctions will be brought against the 2003 world champions.
"RWCL recognizes that the RFU has investigated this matter fully and taken appropriate action and therefore no further action is required," read a statement from RWCL, the organization in charge of the tournament which is being held in New Zealand.
"RWCL accepts the RFU's assurances that it will abide by both the Laws and the Spirit of the Game going forward, however it must be pointed out that any similar breaches in future will be dealt with severely."
The RFU confirmed on Thursday the incident had occurred, but claimed the two coaches involved had incorrectly thought there was an issue with the balls being used.
"Two members of the RFU RWC 2011 team management, David Alred and Paul Stridgeon, mistakenly thought that there was an issue with some of the match balls used in the England v Romania RWC 2011 match," read the RFU statement.
"Those team management members took it upon themselves to substitute balls during the match in contravention of both the Laws of the Game and the Spirit of the Game."
The Pool B contest between Martin Johnson's England and Scotland, led by former England coach Andy Robinson, is key to both team's hope of reaching the quarterfinals.
Scotland need to beat group leaders England by eight points and score four or more tries in Auckland to avoid elimination at the pool stage for the first time in their history.
Argentina, who finished third at the 2007 tournament in France, are currently second in the group, with Scotland third, and Santiago Phelan's team will be hoping for a bonus-point triumph over Georgia to secure their third appearance at the quarterfinal stage.