England manager Martin Johnson wants his team to make headlines for the right reasons in Australia
England boss Martin Johnson has warned his 44-man squad to steer clear of controversy off the pitch ahead of the tour of Down Under.
In 2008, England’s trip to New Zealand attracted headlines for all the wrong reasons with the team whitewashed in the Tests while Danny Care, David Strettle, Topsy Ojo and Mike Brown were all at the centre of sexual assault allegations.
Although all were cleared of those charges both Ojo and Brown were found guilty of misconduct by a RFU investigation and have rarely featured in the England set-up since.
And Johnson knows plenty of temptations wait his squad in Australia but says a balance needs to be struck on the tour.
He said: “There will be distractions and potential areas to get embroiled in. There are pitfalls and some could be put there deliberately.
"We'll be together for three-and-a-half weeks in hostile territory, staying in different hotels and city centre locations.
"Day-in, day-out the guys will face these pitfalls when they are out and about in big cities.
"I don't think they will be targets but this is the world we live in. People have cameras on their phones these days.
"In the majority of these cases guys are in the wrong place at the wrong time. And because they are who they are, it grabs the headlines. If it was a normal member of the public, it wouldn't even register.
“I want them to enjoy being a rugby player. Part of that is enjoying going out with your team-mates at the right time, in the right place and in the right way. They are under a lot of pressure as it is, so they’ve got to enjoy themselves."