World Rugby show where their priorities truly lie

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 10:08
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Forget concussions, financial troubles in Pacific Island rugby and figuring out how to pick a World Cup host without pissing everyone off – World Rugby have shown clearly where their priorities are by apparently banning players writing on the tape on their arms.

Yes, that massive problem in rugby that definitely needed solving – players putting personal messages on their wrist tape – has seemingly been dealt with (somewhat) swiftly by the highest ruling body in the game, according to tweets by players competing in the opening round of the World Sevens Series in Dubai. Because we all remember the massive controversies that wrist tape has caused like…hmmm, what are they again?

Well, there's all the players that put names of their kids and other relatives on their arms, so they can show the pride they have in their families. Can't have that. Now those poor kids won't have the annoying sight of their dad or uncle showing the whole world what their name is! We’re sure they're all very relieved.

Then there's the players that want to show their religious devotion, can't have that either. Except perhaps when teams get together to pray at the end of a game, which the RFU was happy to promote as a fantastically respectful moment. I mean, there's clearly a massive difference between the two, right?

Oh wait. There was one 'real' reason, when then-Maori and now full All Black Kane Hames wore a wristband to show solidarity with First Nation Americans protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. NZ Rugby weren't happy with that at all, making Hames apologise for opposing a move by the US government that had been condemned worldwide*.

That was on last season's Maori All Black tour, so it's clearly an issue that World Rugby took very seriously, having over 12 months to deliberate on the appropriate course of action. Thankfully they've clamped down hard with this wise and decisive move.

Of course, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it's a tradition long associated with Polynesian players and the fact that they might use it as a platform to voice their views on perceived injustices in revenue sharing. Not at all.

Bravo, World Rugby. We look forward to you tackling more pressing issues, like players pulling up their socks and taking the field clean-shaven, in the near future.

*With NZ Rugby’s help in eliminating dissent, the Trump administration finished the Dakota Access Pipeline. During its construction, almost 500 protesters were arrested.

By Jamie Wall, Rugbypass