After a mixed bag of international and domestic Rugby I have been left in a quandary. I watched as Ireland dismantled Wales, I watched as England destroyed Scotland, I watched as Ulster fought a hard working Ospreys side, and I watched as France turned on the flair against Italy. All these games were due to deliver a rugby fans delight with skill, accuracy and discipline on show. Now I know its not Tag or touch Rugby, but some of the ‘professional’ behaviour on show was frankly awful. Now I am not a prude and I am I all for targeting nines and tens they are the playmakers and to get them riled up leads to mistakes. Ireland very successfully got in Mike Phillips face and this led to Wayne Barnes warning him twice during the game to calm down. After Paddy Jackson scored, a late hit led to Rob Kearney pushing the culprit, led to a farcical few minutes where Phillips ran nearly 20 metres to attack Kearney. What happened next Bill McClaren would have called handbags. Phillips was yellow carded in the 78th minute. Do we want new Welsh Scrum Halves thinking that this is the way to behave?
The Scotland v England game, the Calcutta Cup, the Oldest International in rugby, is always a heated and entertaining event with bragging rights going either side of the border. It starts well as always with both anthems and the Scots producing a great pre -game show. That's where the entertainment stopped. The scoreline aside, and a good run out for England, several incidents have now dominated my Twitter timeline. Firstly, Owen Farrell’s unprovoked push on unsuspecting Chris Cusiter. The ball was well away and Farrell went to collect it. I refer to earlier when I said to get in to the faces of the opposition 9’s. The game was effectively over, the try had been scored and Scotland were not a threat. The second was Mike Brown sticking out his tongue! Really I promise you my timeline exploded, but Mike Brown has explained this on Twitter to Brian Moore as banter as he had been goaded the whole game and he was enjoying the fact that he had scored and the goader missed the tackle. Third last was the booing! Murrayfield is a hostile venue for any English team and cheering a kick missed is fine. Especially when the kicker is English, but booing a kicker is against the ethos of sportsmanship that we sell our game on. Booing ‘Swing Low’ fine, more than happy with it, but the kicker goes against the grain.
Ravenhill on Friday was its usual cold and very wet. RugbyUnited’s up and coming star, Michael Allen made a hit with his shoulder into the legs of an attacking Osprey. Nigel Owens called for the TMO and decided that it was an illegal tackle. Whilst I, and apparently most of the Terrace, thought this was the wrong call, as Morgan lined up his penalty booing started. Never in all my years have I heard that! Yes I seriously disagreed with the referee but booing a kicker, regardless of the reasons, is just simply wrong!
I suppose what I am saying in a very long winded way is I long for the respect to return to my beloved game. Some ‘supporters’ of all teams and all international sides need to catch themselves on.
I wrote a very similar blog to this in January 2013, you can read my opinions HERE if you really want!!!