Mike Phillips Spat With 1 Direction is Exactly What Rugby Needs

Let’s start by addressing the key issue here, namely that Mike Phillips is a prat. His reaction to Paddy Jackson scoring a try for Ireland in the clip below is pathetic! I’m all for players wearing their hearts on the sleeves in big games but when your team have already lost the game in the fashion Wales went down to Ireland in Dublin on Saturday it looks pathetic. Take your beating like a man and get on with it…

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(Un)fortunately it did not end their for Phillips who received a torrent of messages on Twitter from Irish fans condemning his behaviour, the most notable of which came from pre-pubescent, Irish ‘heart-throb’ Niall Horan of 1 Direction.

As you might imagine Mike Phillips being Mike Phillips chose not to rise above the bait and instead reacted to Horan’s tweet with the below

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This prompted Irish full-back Rob Kearney to step into the furore and back up his Irish compatriot

Fortunately Phillips seemed to get over the incident pretty quickly

Never one to miss out on a PR stunt Paddy Power stepped in to try to stir things up a bit

So what does all this have to do with the headline then? Simply that it still shows there’s some personality in professional rugby. Yes Mike Phillips looked like a right muppet trying to start a fight with a dominant Irish side but he was also willing to stick up to himself. I’m sure all of us would love the opportunity to put 1 Direction in their place at some time or another, but Phillips actually did it. How many other professional players can you imagine doing that?

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One of my biggest qualms about professional rugby these days is simply that there aren’t enough characters playing any more. Almost every top player in the game has had their personality totally ripped out of them in interviews by some ‘media relations expert’. For me one of the best things about being a part of a rugby club is that nobody tries to take themselves too seriously, this allows for some great banter between players and fans.

Unfortunately the days of players who are as entertaining off the field as they are on it is almost completely over as none of them are allowed to undertake an interview without ‘expert’ supervision. Even the things that do go on off the field are kept as tightly guarded secrets these days with most players barely allowed to express their personalities through personal social media accounts.

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Fortunately there is a saviour! Nick Cummins (widely known as the honey badger) is certainly not afraid of putting his foot in his mouth – just see the video below. Players like Cummins offer so much more to fans and can really help rugby reach a wider audience, unfortunately rather than embracing them we seem to be trying to suppress them.

Even players with huge ego’s and a bit of swagger seem few and far between these days. What Wales wouldn’t give right now for a fly-half with all the confidence of Jonathan Davies in his prime coming through.

Would you agree that rugby needs more big personalities?

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