Mealy-mouthed friends make Kyle’s ‘dig’ worse
As a confirmed grumpy old man, the list of things that irritate me beyond belief is a lengthy one, but rugby’s disciplinary judgements, and then players apologising for team-mates’ misdemeanours, are high on my list.
After Kyle Sinckler’s well-deserved seven-week ban for ‘making contact with the eye/eye area’ of an opponent in the ‘Quins match against Northampton his former teammate Ugo Monye appeared Rugby Tonight.
Monye explained that Sinckler was trying to rip his opponent’s skull cap off, but once he’d accomplished that, he went ‘back for another dig’.
If the purpose of the madness was to remove Michael Paterson’s cap, and he’d done that, what possible innocent explanation could there be for having another go?
However, we then got the sort of mealy-mouthed nonsense that we hear so often. Apparently Monye knows Sinckler really well, and told us that ‘there was absolutely no intent’.
“That is quite simply a nonsensical thing to say, as there’s no way that Monye can know what was going through Sinckler’s mind at that moment. Far better to say that he’s a lovely bloke off the field, but goodness knows what got into him.
I’ve heard this sort of thing so many times in the past and it’s an unsavoury part of rugby. When Alan Quinlan missed the Lions tour as a result of a 12week ban for making contact with the eyes of an opponent, we were told that no way was ‘Quinny’ a dirty player.
When Paul O’Connell got four weeks for striking Jonathan Davies with his forearm, the Ospreys forwards coach, Jonathan Humphreys sprung to his defence, telling us that ‘Paul O’Connell is not a dirty player by any stretch of the imagination’, and the list is as long as your arm of similar utterances – every time something happens, the same excuses get rolled out. The fact of the matter is that perfectly decent rugby players, when the red mist descends, do stupid and dirty things.
Far better for current players and coaches to simply play a straight bat, and say that they’re happy to let the disciplinary process take its course, and ex-players, like Monye, need to put their previous loyalties to one side, and review the incident from an impartial point of view.
Like most people I really couldn’t care less about what a great bloke a player is off the field, I just want a proper professional review of their on-field actions, and if found guilty, for the proper sentence to be handed out, without any nonsense about irrelevant mitigating circumstances.
The marketing blurb accompanying last week’s announcement of the 2017-18 England Rugby alternate kit was really quite remarkable. It told us that it’s dark grey, ‘In line with England head coach Eddie Jones’ vision to be more disruptive and uncompromising on the field’, whatever that means.
Apparently it’s inspired by ‘distraction principles’, supposedly to make it harder for opponents to distinguish aspects of the body during the tackle!
Also, there is an embossed motif with angular shapes that apparently pays homage to fortress Twickenham, although I confess that passed me by! Fans should buy the alternate shirt to be part of ‘the collective commitment from both elite players and supporters to drive the team forward throughout the 17/18 season’.
None of this should detract from what are, in fact really nice replica shirts, and if that’s your thing then I reckon they’ll prove popular. The odd thing is that they’re only scheduled to be used in the first Autumn international against Argentina in a few weeks’ time – seemingly it will be the traditional white shirts for the next two Tests.
That seems to be a real shame for fans forking out up to £90, and it would be good if the RFU decided to give them another outing or two so that fans who buy them get a bit more value for their money.
Apologist: Kyle Sinckler in action for Quins. Inset: Ugo Monye