England forward Nick Easter has conceded he could have been one of the players shamed in the leaked review of the World Cup, but has moved defend his position.
In the wake of a disastrous tournament on and off the field, the Red Rose players were asked to submit feedback to the Rugby Players‘ Association, only for their comments to be made public.
One player was reported to have reacted to England‘s quarter-final defeat to France by saying: “There‘s £35k just gone down the toilet” and Easter admits he may have been that man.
He told the Mail on Sunday that he could have made the remark, but claims that if he did, it was as a joke.
“I know I didn’t say anything for a good hour at least because nobody did. It was like a funeral in there,” Easter said of the scene in the England dressing room.
“I don’t specifically remember saying it but it’s possible I did – especially if a number of players have said so. It is the kind of facetious thing I say and people who know me know this.
“I find it very disappointing that a player should make a point of bringing this up in the review, and equally disappointing that it was leaked. I can’t understand whoever reported this would believe this was part of my motivation.
“The remark, assuming I said it, has been taken out of context by the player, and subsequently, by the response to it.”
Easter claims to be still troubled by the defeat, which proved to be Martin Johnson‘s last in charge of the team, and insists he has never been motivated by money.
He added: “Although being paid is a welcome bonus that professionalism brings, it is the last thing on your mind when you are playing rugby, or you’ve just experienced a defeat, let alone a World Cup quarter-final defeat.
“I may have said it, but I’d gone through a thousand other thoughts first as I sat in the dressing room numb with shock and despair.”