The fallout from England’s woeful World Cup took a bizarre twist on Monday as the Rugby Football Union confirmed an investigation into allegations players lost money on poor investment tips from kit man Dave Tennison.
According to British newspaper reports, several England players — including Sam Burgess, now returning to rugby league, and scrum-half Danny Care — lost a combined Â£100,000 ($150,861, 140,032 euros) after taking Tennison’s advice to invest in oil-drilling firm LCO Energy only for the company’s share price to then drop dramatically.
England coach Stuart Lancaster and his staff are understood not to have had any knowledge of Tennison’s reported financial advice.
There is no suggestion either that Tennison has done anything illegal.
According to the Sun on Sunday, Tennison sent emails to several players urging them to invest in LCO during England’s build-up to the World Cup but the shares slumped in value from Â£3.27 apiece to 50p, leaving some players facing a significant loss.
Burgess is now facing the biggest loss, with a source telling the paper: “Sam Burgess invested the most and was furious when the price went down so much,â€ a source told the paper.
“No one is saying the share tips were the reason we did so badly in the tournament â€“- but it certainly didnâ€™t help.â€
An RFU spokesman said Monday: “The RFU takes the allegations extremely seriously. It is an internal matter and we are taking the appropriate action.”
The RFU inquiry into the share reports will be separate from their ongoing review into England’s World Cup campaign which has left Lancaster fighting for his job.
Defeats by Wales and Australia saw England become the first World Cup host nation to fail to get out of the pool stage.
RFU chief executive is set to present a conclusion to the review to the national governing body’s management board on November 17.
Meanwhile Wasps captain and England back-row forward James Haskell was adamant there was no link between Tennison’s financial advice and the squad’s miserable World Cup campaign.
“You add the spice by saying it detracted from our performance but from the moment we got into camp in pre-season to the moment we left, the boys were dedicated to our performance,” Haskell told the Daily Mail.