England chiefs have denied that a pre-World Cup training ground spat between coach Mike Catt and overlooked fly-half Danny Cipriani left the squad on the verge of mutiny.
The Rugby Football Union confirmed that the flashpoint occurred the day before England announced their 31-man squad for the tournament, and hours after Sale’s Cipriani had learned of his omission from head coach Stuart Lancaster’s World Cup party.
“Danny and Mike were involved in a robust conversation on the training pitch following a misunderstanding around a training drill instruction,” said an RFU spokesperson yesterday.
“Both shook hands afterwards and the incident played no bearing on selection.”
England face a dead rubber clash against Uruguay at the City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday after becoming the first host nation in World Cup history to be eliminated in the group stage.
Bath boss Mike Ford, who was part of England’s backroom staff at the 2011 World Cup, has called for any inquest into England’s showing to be conducted swiftly, as opposed to the elongated post-tournament review of four years ago. He said: “The review should not last three months.”