NEWS
10/02/2011 04:44 EDT | Updated 12/01/2011 05:12 EST

Haskell, Hartley, Ashton reprimanded over lewd behaviour toward a female hotel worker at RWC

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - England players James Haskell, Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton have been reprimanded by manager Martin Johnson and forced to apologize to a female hotel worker for reportedly making lecherous comments toward her.

The incident occurred at a Dunedin hotel on Sept. 9 when Annabel Newton went to one of the player's rooms to retrieve some hotel equipment. It was reported in a British tabloid newspaper on Sunday, hours after England advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals with a comeback 16-12 win over Scotland.

Johnson says what the players "thought was humour and a light-hearted exchange has clearly not been taken that way." He told a Sunday news conference, "I was angry with them."

The hotel episode happened a week before centre Mike Tindall was captured on security footage holding a woman's hand and receiving a kiss on top of his head at a Queenstown bar. Tindall married Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter, the previous month.