Italian prop Martin Castrogiovanni has claimed that ‘what we used to hate about football is now going on in rugby’ in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail.
He went on to say ‘It’s not as bad, but it’s the truth. People say that we all drink beers together after the match, but people don’t go to the after-match any more. Sometimes they rush off to catch a plane, or they’ve lost and they’re angry, or they hate each other. They just leave. Sometimes it’s bulls**t, but it is what it is.
‘In the rugby environment before, that was the biggest thing. We would kill each other, maybe fight on the pitch, but afterwards we would have a beer, shake hands and that’s it. That was rugby, but it’s not like that anymore.
‘A good example is what happened when Tom Youngs (the Leicester hooker) got punched in the face last year (against Northampton). Tom is one of the old-school tough men. Afterwards he put a photo on Twitter saying “nice punch”, and that solved it.
‘Sometimes when you thump someone, the other team will try to kill that guy for what he did. You see little players saying “I can’t see out of my eye because of the punch”. You say “man up, you play rugby not football”. That kind of thing is getting more common in rugby. If you get punched, then get him next time. We are losing the things that used to make rugby what it is.’
‘I am one of the old-fashioned guys and will still say what I think,’ he says. ‘Not because I want people to like me, but because of who I am and what I am. In life it’s good to say what you think.
‘We live in a free world, or at least we think we do, but sometimes you get told off for what you say. It’s “you can’t say that” or “be careful what you say to the media”.
‘If you put a camera in and the people didn’t know it was going out to the media, then you would really know what they think.
‘A lot of the interviews you see before or after the match… I don’t want to say it’s bulls**t, but it’s all polite and careful.
‘I promise you, if you put a camera in the changing room or a meeting before a game then everyone, even the coach, would get banned for how they talk, or how they speak about other people.
‘People will finish in court. People don’t say what they think because they’re scared of what will happen.’
Do you think rugby is at risk of becoming too much like football?