Media should lay off England night out

SATURDAY’S match at home to Cornish Pirates was a mixed affair. Losing 23-25 to team of their calibre is no disgrace, but we didn’t start the game with our usual intensity, so we were down at half-time. However, I was immensely proud of the way we dragged the match back into our control during the second half and the fact that we were all so disappointed to lose it at the death speaks volumes for the pressure we put them under.

Now for our debut British and Irish Cup match against local rivals London Welsh tomorrow (7.30pm kick-off) – world rugby’s oldest exiles clash, dating back to 1885. We have huge respect for their professionalism and strength in depth so we are all looking forward to the clash.

Following Saturday’s game, I watched England’s match against Georgia on Sunday. Once again they won without playing their best, but it was great to see an improvement in their performance. Hopefully the victory will calm some of the sensationalism around the squad and their choice of evening entertainment.

It fascinates me when a story like this comes up. The media demands greater access to players without the sterilised ‘media-trained’ answers we have become used to. However, from the playing side it is frustrating because as soon as certain sections get that opportunity, they can be quite negative in their reporting.

I feel one of the great things about rugby is it encourages camaraderie and enjoyment. The social side is as vital to creating a cohesive unit as more organised team-building initiatives – and that sees you through the close games. That happens at international level and at Championship level here at London Scottish too.

A management team can’t give a group of players very specific and regimented rules for their off-field activities and then expect the same players to be leaders and make their own decisions on the pitch. Our remit at Scottish is to guide the players, give them parameters in which to work in and let them work out what the correct decisions are for themselves.

Simon Amor is Head Coach at London Scottish. Their next fixture is at home tomorrow against London Welsh.