The Rugby Football League have launched an investigation after allegations that at least one member of the England side became embroiled in a fight in the hosts’ team hotel following their defeat in the Rugby League World Cup semi-finals.
England were beaten by Samoa in dramatic circumstances in London on Saturday, and while the majority of the squad left their base in Manchester after that loss, several members, including the squad’s Australian-based players, remained at the team hotel in Worsley. It has since emerged in reports from Australia that one member of the team became involved in a fight on Sunday evening.
The RFL would not confirm the identity of any of the players or individuals involved when approached by the Guardian, but did confirm an investigation has begun. “The RFL have been made aware of allegations and are currently investigating the matter,” a spokesperson for the governing body said in a short statement.
World Cup officials also confirmed they had received a complaint. “The Rugby League World Cup is aware of reported incidents and is in conversation with the respective parties to establish the circumstances,” a tournament spokesperson said. “There will be no further comment at this time.”
Samoa, who will play in the final for the first time in their history this weekend when they face Australia, had relocated to the team hotel England had been using after Saturday’s victory against the hosts at the Emirates Stadium. They were believed to be present in the hotel when the incident occurred.
Matt Parish’s side won the dramatic semi-final 27-26 in golden point extra-time courtesy of Stephen Crichton’s drop goal. Shaun Wane’s side returned to their hotel in Manchester before the majority of the players headed off on their off-season breaks, but the reported melee has now cast a further shadow over England’s disappointing exit.