Stranger things and rugby

Exeter Chiefs player Luke Cowan-Dickie attacks Northampton Saints player Rory Hutchinson during the

Exeter Chiefs player Luke Cowan-Dickie attacks Northampton Saints player Rory Hutchinson during the Gallagher Premiership rugby game between Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs at Franklins Gardens, Northampton on June 6th - PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK - Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle

We have all seen some strange things happen in the game of rugby, on and off the pitch, sometimes just ludicrous, crazed behaviour or sometimes a little scheming or ‘tactical’.  
This weekend is one of those scenarios. 
The Chiefs game itself almost seemed uneventful, with simply a red card and an 18-point deficit to make up after 14 minutes. Showing the maturity and grit to win in a game with such importance and when the performance isn’t quite there, fills me with confidence moving into a huge game versus Sale Sharks at Sandy Park. 
The ‘100-minute match’, immediately came to mind when I watch the highlights from the Bristol game. The Six Nations game had similar controversy, with yellow cards and scrum penalties deep into extra time. However, the attacking team in this situation were not quite able to press home the advantage and Bristol secured themselves the home semi-final. 
The list of weird and wonderful goings on in a rugby environment is long, from training ground tussles, or Sladey packing down in the second row at training, to hiding someone’s underwear for most of the season. 
One poignant strange memory came from a match day and includes a cross dressing, fat lady in a convincing loss at the Allianz arena. We were soundly beaten on the day, and with five minutes remaining something appeared in the stands and belted out Nessun Dorma, but not that well. 
The frustration of being mocked on top of the frustration of the loss stuck with me, and stayed with one or two of the coaching staff, who let them know their thoughts a year later, when we soundly beat them in the same fixture. 
When it comes to tactics, there is a growing number of situations now where you see the integrity of the game waver.  
Rugby is a sport I enjoy promoting, it has given me moral and social lessons over the years and I would encourage any parent to get their children involved in the sport for that very reason.  
Yet we are seeing the attitude of ‘win at all costs’ come more and more into the game. Don’t get me wrong, every time that I would take the pitch it was to win and get the better of the opposition or player, but there is a line not to cross. 

Exeter Chiefs player Joe Simmonds (capt) during the Gallagher Premiership rugby game between Northa

Exeter Chiefs player Joe Simmonds (capt) during the Gallagher Premiership rugby game between Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs at Franklins Gardens, Northampton on June 6th - PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK - Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle

Exeter Chiefs player Sam Skinner takes a lineout during the Gallagher Premiership rugby game betwee

Exeter Chiefs player Sam Skinner takes a lineout during the Gallagher Premiership rugby game between Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs at Franklins Gardens, Northampton on June 6th - PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK


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