As much as I enjoy a good game of rugby, I’ve been a bit put out by some of the imbalances shown during this Rugby World Cup.
If you play for Samoa and wear a non-regulation mouth guard what happens? You get a bloody big fine (bearing in mind the team isn’t exactly flush with money).
Play for England and do dodgy things with the ball and what happens? You get a warning and a slap on the wrist. England can afford a $10,000 fine, Samoa certainly can’t.
Then there’s the behaviour of the England players and they have made their merry way around the country: the Queen’s grandson-in-law shoving his face in the cleavage of that chick in Queenstown and having a quick grope and a snog (and the subsequent lies the bent-nosed boofhead told, as well), the ferry jumping incident and the other arrogant shits from the same team who sexually harassed a young staff member at a Dunedin hotel. Because that’s what it was: sexual harassment. It wasn’t having a laugh or just a bit of fun, it was well over the line.
And now, finally, we hear that the sport’s governing body is investigating whether any members of the team breached the Rugby Football Union’s elite player agreement or code of conduct. Um, hello: nose in some sheila’s norks … surely that’s a breach of something? And let’s not forget that sexual harassment situation.
People have been sent home in disgrace from major world sporting events in the past for much less offensive behaviour.
But I guess it has been made very clear at this tournament, where the IRB has dictated that we couldn’t take an umbrella (or car parts) to the games and gave dire warnings of what would happen if we dared wear items advertising the sponsors’ competition, that keeping the sponsors happy is far more important than running a tidy, fair and safe tournament.
Most of us probably didn’t notice the advertising on the mouth guard that attracted the $10k fine. And most of us probably didn’t care. However, the ball tampering situation … that’s another story.