Former Lions hooker Steve Thompson reckons people were out to "tear" England apart during their controversial World Cup campaign.
England's disappointing performance during the tournament in New Zealand was overshadowed by a series of off-field incidents.
The Rugby Football Union have since announced that they will investigate whether any squad members broke their code of conduct.
But while Thompson, a Lions tourist in 2005, admits England were not good enough during the tournament and that some players had made mistakes he is certain people we out to get Martin Johnson's men from day one.
"It felt like from the day we turned up in New Zealand certain people were intent on tearing us to shreds," Thompson told ESPN.
"Obviously some things have happened off the field but it was interesting to see Wales coach Warren Gatland say that his side are not whiter than white the other day.
"We haven't performed as well as we should have and some players got things wrong and they got reprimanded for that. They have apologised and we moved on but sometimes these issues get dragged out in public rather than people focusing on the rugby."
Despite being knocked out by unfancied France, who are now in the final, at the quarter-final stage, Thompson insists England played some good rugby.
"Some of the combinations may not have worked as planned but I still think we played some good rugby even in the defeat to France." he said.
"We threw the ball around and produced some of our best rugby only for a few dropped balls and a couple of missed tackles to cost us. The fact that France have now made the final just adds to the frustration but fair play to them, they got the result they needed against us and Wales."
Thompson will now link-up with Wasps and has refused to retire from international rugby despite being 33.
"Looking ahead, there is no way I am going to retire from international rugby. People may be saying I'm too old but if I am playing well for Wasps then I want to be playing for England.
"I want to wear the England jersey again but we'll see what happens. I don't know what is going on coaching wise and there is all this talk about various inquiries, but the hunger is still there and I am convinced this squad can still do something special."