The England national rugby team has been embroiled in a bizarre and embarrassing scandal, with news that a host of players lost money on shares recommended by the team’s kitman.
The Rugby World Cup hosts under-performed at the recent competition, losing to Wales and Australia, subsequently exiting the tournament in the group stages.
The latest controversy has plunged the RFU and the national game in England to new lows, with it being revealed that kitman Dave Tennison recommended shares in oil drilling company LGO Energy to the players.
The Guardian claims that a host of players, including Rugby League convert Sam Burgess, invested tens of thousands of pounds on his recommendation – but saw the share price plummet.
Instead of Tennison’s tip that the company’s share price would skyrocket, it has dropped from £3.27 to 50p.
Although the actions are by no means illegal, the scandal is certainly less then ideal preparation for such a major competition on home soil and can be listed as another reason for England’s poor performance at the tournament.
An insider was quoted as saying that Burgess in particular was incensed by the loss of money.
“Sam Burgess invested the most and was furious when the price went down so much.”
“No one is saying the share tips were the reason we did so badly in the tournament – but it certainly didn’t help.”
The shares were listed at £1.20 just days before the competition starting, but Tennison is believed to have sent e-mails to the investing players to calm their concerns.
“I would not discourage anybody from buying LGO shares at this ridiculous low price,” read one email.
“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this will prove to be a fantastic investment.”
The scandal is made worse by the fact that head coach Stuart Lancaster is said to have been unaware of the investment and subsequent disquiet in the squad.
A review of the side’s performance at the World Cup has started with a report to be presented to the management board on November 17. This incident will be investigated separately, and is bound to cause further criticism of the England rugby setup.