Rugby World Cup 2011: England players must carry World Cup can, urges Flood

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Toby Flood has called on his England team-mates to start taking responsibility for their actions off the field and pull together on it to strengthen their bid for World Cup glory.

The Leicester fly-half was joined by Shontayne Hape in providing an insight into the disappointment some England players feel about the recent headline-grabbing controversies. Mark Cueto launched a vehement defence of England’s conduct and blamed the media for making a “mountain out of a molehill”.

Flood sees the issue from a broader perspective. He believes the first responsibility lies on the shoulders of each player and Hape admitted to the BBC that “a couple of the guys have let the squad down”.

But in an address worthy of a potential captain, Flood demanded England put all the distractions behind them and present a united front for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final clash with France.

“I think Mark’s point is valid to a degree in terms of there’s been a lot been written about it. However you’re in a World Cup,” Flood said. “There’s a lot more fuss, a lot more that goes on with it. You stand by what you do as a person. You have to be accountable for what happens in life.”