There is absolutely no place for violence in the game, says RW reader Alasdair Moffett
Rugby is deeply ingrained in me. I love what it stands for and the bond it creates within a team and a club. I moved to work in England two years ago and my local club, Honiton, could not have been more welcoming.
There is nothing I relish more than trying to steal ball and this has resulted in many trodden hands. However, over the past year I’ve encountered another side of the game whilst playing. It involves an older forward trying to teach youngsters a thing or two.
Just a few weeks ago, admittedly slowing ball in a ruck, I had my ring finger grabbed and sharply twisted. A reminder with a stud would have been sufficient. I heard it pop and thought it was likely there was soft-tissue damage, but carried on.
However, once the bruising had subsided, the swelling around the knuckle remained. X-rays showed a fracture involving the joint, and a general anaesthetic and a couple of screws followed (thanks to RD&E Hospital for such professional service).
I’m a farm animal vet and I faced six weeks off work. Thankfully my employers at Synergy Farm Health have supported me, but if one of these characters is reading this rant, or you know someone who has a tendency for these misdemeanours, I’m hoping it will encourage them to think of the consequences.
There is simply no place for violence in rugby and unfortunately it leaves me with no option but to retire from rugby as I cannot afford to meet another of these players.
I don’t think this is a general reflection on the game. Duncan McRae hammered Ronan O’Gara on the 2001 Lions tour, but as a rule there is no time for it in top games. As the standard drops, the pace drops, and this allows the occasional player to commit such acts.
The way to resolve this is communication, whether it is speaking out after an incident
or challenging the team-mate involved. It is only a very select group that need to be weeded out – 99.9% of people involved in the sport would have nothing to do with these incidents.
However, it doesn’t only reflect badly on the individual, but on the team, the club, the league and the entire sport.