Rugby Union: Pitbull baring his teeth again

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The Independent Online
BRIAN MOORE could hardly have been described as a Francophile during his nine extraordinarily confrontational years in the England front row - "They're like 15 Eric Cantonas," he said of the Tricolores in 1995 - but he enjoyed a bon mot nonetheless, writes Chris Hewett.

The player affectionately nicknamed "Pitbull" rarely shied away from controversy during his playing days. Now, having retired some time ago, he has proved himself still capable of upsetting the Rugby Football Union. Not only has giving his stamp of approval to Pitbull's Punch-Ups, a video celebration of the game's black arts which was released yesterday, but he has also managed to poke fun at his elders and betters at Twickenham.

The message on the box reads: "To all members of the RFU committee and to Colonel Bufty Sir Tufty Wufty Bufty from Surrey - remember, it's a joke!"

Needless to say, officialdom has not been reduced to hysterics; "I haven't seen the video, but obviously I condemn violence at any time," commented Nick Bunting, the RFU's referee development officer. Meanwhile, Pitbull is baffled by all the fuss. "We show some good rugby in between the nasty bits," he said yesterday.

Frustratingly for the RFU, they are helpless to prevent their bete noir from cashing in on the commercial appeal of sporting brutality. As a retired player with no union affiliations, Moore is safely beyond the reach of sanctions.