Rugby Union may be seen as one of the more gentlemanly contact sports around the globe; its leadership certainly likes to label it as such. But the truth is that, like many sports, there has always been a dark and sinister side to the game, and 2012 was no different.
Current Rugby Football Union (RFU) citing officer and former England international, Wade Dooley, gave an interview last year with Alan Fraser of the Daily Mail where he claimed much of his sport's foul play had been neutralized through advancements in officiating and technology:
Back then, rugby was a hard game for hard men. We did the job we had to. The referee was alone. We had to have eyes in the back of our heads. There was no help from touch judges, who were not allowed to intervene.
Nowadays, the game is so well monitored. There are effectively four referees in the ground; there are all kinds of camera angles; and the citing officers go through matches with a fine-tooth comb. You can’t go charging around, stamping on heads or gouging, or whatever. You would not get away with it. Just as well.
Many a rugby player would no doubt agree with Dooley and give thanks for the supposed increases in law and order. However, every once and a while an incident occurs which reminds us that rugby still has its dark side.
Fortunately for officials and fans alike, Mr. Dooley was right about the cameras....