The first member of England's under-fire World Cup squad, captain Lewis Moody, has fallen on his sword - following their early exit after a dismal controversial trip to New Zealand.
The 33-year-old England captain, who made his international debut in 2001 and won 71 caps for his country, has announced that he is retiring from international duty.
The flank was part of the England team that won the World Cup in Australia in 2003 and lost in the Final to South Africa four years later.
Moody took over the captaincy in 2010, but oversaw a disappointing 2011 World Cup campaign in New Zealand, where England scraped out of the pool stages before losing to France in the quarterfinals.
Their campaign was overshadowed by dour on-field play and a series of off-field controversies - including a couple of sex scandals, one which resulted in three players having had to apologise to a female employee at a local hotel for their 'inappropriate' behaviour.
Moody said his decision was not just a result of the failed campaign.
"I realised I might be making this decision before the World Cup started," Moody said.
"It's a big decision to make and I feel emotional about making it, but it's the right thing to do for me and for the England rugby squad.
"My time with England has been unbelievable, even if the last few weeks have not gone so well.
"It's only right for the team to move on.
"There will be changes, maybe in management and definitely in some of the match-day 22, and if England want to start planning for a successful World Cup here in four years' time, then it is my belief that they should be appointing a new captain from February to see the team right the way through to 2015."
He was praised by England Team Manager Martin Johnson, who himself has come under fired for the team's failed campaign.
"Lewis has been a great servant to English rugby and has literally put his body on the line more times than he can probably remember," Johnson said.
"To play in two World Cup finals and then lead his country in a third campaign is a great testament to him.
"He will be missed on and off the field and on behalf of everyone in the England squad, players, coaches and management, we wish him all the best for the rest of his career."
England attracted attention for the wrong reasons during the tournament, starting when stand-in skipper Mike Tindall and other players were pictured drunk at dwarf-throwing competition in a Queenstown bar.
Tindall, married to Zara Phillips, the daughter of the Princess Royal and the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, was caught out when images, from CCTV cameras at a rowdy New Zealand bar showed him kissing the blonde and leaving with her.
Three players then offered public apologies after it was revealed they made lewd comments to a Dunedin hotel worker.
And even after the team was knocked out, centre Manu Tuilagi was cautioned by police for jumping off an Auckland ferry and swimming ashore following a day trip.
Moody acknowledged the behaviour of some of the squad was far from ideal as England struggled to make an impact on the field.
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