Ruck and Maul: Segregating fans isn't an option. This is a different brawl game

The hoary old holier-than-thou argument has been thrown at rugby union following the incident at Leeds which has led to Worcester players Chris Cracknell and James Collins facing an RFU disrepute charge on Tuesday. A couple of football writers cited the Harlequins fake-blood fiasco when accusing the oval-ball game of going easy on cheating and misbehaviour while looking down their noses at footie. This despite the Quins case ending with a coach given a three-year ban and a player suspended for four months for faking injury (yes, faking injury – if football did the same, there'd be no one left in a couple of weeks). True, Cracknell was "only" fined and suspended for two weeks by his club for the post-match fight on the Headingley touchline but this could amount to a dismissal if his contract is not renewed. And he and Collins face further sanction now from an RFU panel chaired by Judge Jeff Blackett, who banned Toulouse's Trevor Brennan for life (reduced to five years on appeal) for climbing into the crowd and punching an Ulster supporter in 2007. Will Blackett be lenient? Reports suggested the Worcester fracas was confined to the two players and their dads so, while being unacceptable, wasn't it fundamentally different to a player attacking a random member of the crowd? Rugby remains wary of starting down the road to football's segregation of fans and cutting them off from players.

Baa-Baas are fretting

Wasps' failure to reach the Guinness Premiership play-offs frees Danny Cipriani and Paul Sackey to play for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham on 30 May. The pair's inclusion in the Baa-Baas' squad suggests neither is expecting to be included in Martin Johnson's 44-man party on Tuesday for the tour to Australia and New Zealand in June. The Barbarians are fretting over who makes it through to the play-off finals of the Premiership, Magners League and French Top 14 which all clash with the England match. They may lose the Munster quartet of Doug Howlett, Alan Quinlan, Jean de Villiers and Paul Warwick – Munster go to Cardiff Blues today with a Magners semi-final spot at stake between them plus Edinburgh – and a handful of players from Toulouse. A big-name coach is on standby to replace Philippe Saint-André in charge of the Baa-Baas, if his Toulon side win a semi-final in St Etienne on Saturday. Still, the invitational side beat the All Blacks last November with just one training session, so how much coaching do they need?

Roll up for 'Real Varsity'

What the participants like to call the "Real Varsity Match" takes place on Wednesday when Loughborough host Bath in front of a 4,000-strong crowd. Loughborough have won the previous five matches including 51-17 last year at The Rec though, as with the other Varsity, it seems the same two teams always get to the final.



North Wales needs help

North Wales coach Clive Griffiths is pleading for the Welsh Rugby Union to increase support for the region, arguing that Australian rugby league tapped successfully into outposts such as Brisbane and Melbourne in the past. The Conwy-based team have had a request to take part in the British & Irish Cup next season turned down but harbour hopes of joining the Welsh Premiership or Division One.



hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there