In an announcement that has shaken world rugby to the core the Rugby Football Union has revealed that England's dismal performance off the field during the 2011 World Cup was part of an ongoing rebranding and marketing project.
In an attempt to tap into a 'previously undervalued demographic core', the English team had been following a meticulously plotted 'leftfield behavioural plan' designed to attract members of the public who enjoy 'rock and roll' lifestyles but currently do not follow rugby union.
The RFU were forced to reveal their hand after the final stage of the campaign backfired and lead to a serious police investigation and worldwide press condemnation. Manu Tuilagi's jump from a ferry in Auckland was one of the final phases of what was labelled 'Operation Rock the Rose'.
It was thought the centre's outlandish behaviour would appeal to males between fifteen and twenty-one who 'aspire to fame and success but wish to maintain a feeling of rebelliousness' and who desire to 'project an exciting and somewhat maverick personality onto their peers and elders'.
"Whilst we may have made some errors in judgement," said Caroline Bills, head of RFU Marketing, "We only wished to widen the appeal of the game in England. It is important people from all members of society buy into the brand that is Team England.
"A bigger fan base makes English rugby stronger, increases revenue and makes the game more appealing to media partners and corporate sponsors. We are in a recession and we won't apologise for trying to rebrand Team England and reach new markets. We will not sit back here and let the game in England fall behind."