Our great game has always revolved around putting in everything you have and just as importantly, sportsmanship. This is why we were appalled by Pape’s display of diving against Edinburgh at the weekend, which wouldn’t fall short of earning him an oscar.
The Frenchman was ‘slapped’ by Edinburgh centre Phil Burleigh in the second half and was looked down upon by everyone watching as he hit the deck in a rather extravagant fall, sending shivers of awkwardness through everyone at the stadium. Looking at the bigger picture, is this the sort of nonsense we want our young budding talent to see? Although, all is not bad, as Pape was warned for his acts against sportsmanship, which is definitely the least he deserved for the appalling performance.
It is not only diving which we have a problem with when it comes to sportsmanship, but any acts against it, as these are the factors which stop our sport from standing out among others, where plenty seem to have very little or no control over sportsmanship with their respective games.
Looking at other aspects of sportsmanship, Rugby also faces problems (as full contact sports do) in terms of dangerous play; some which seem accidental, such as Elliot Daly’s collision with Argentina’s Enrique Pieretto; others not so accidental, such as Hartley’s swinging arm at the weekend, gaining him a well deserved 6 week ban for.
But, is it actually not about the post-punishment, but deterring foul play before it makes it’s way onto the pitch? Wouldn’t this be better? Then we wouldn’t have to worry so much about the foundations of our sport fading away, and all we need to do to stop this from happening is show respect, and that costs nothing.