Cheating has crept into rugby
Rugby is turning into a cheat-fest and creeping inexorably toward football-style behaviour. And the professional coaches and players who are at the heart of this should be ashamed. The rulers of the game should be even more ashamed.
The mistake rugby makes is in not briefing referees on the deliberate cheating some teams get away with week in and week out. A prop feigns an injury? Get him off the pitch.
I hate it. People lying there, on the wrong side of the ball, conning the referee with arms held straight as if to say: "Look ref, I am not in the way." Oh yes you are. And you are not rolling away. You are deliberately slowing the ball down, you have practiced this, and you are cheating. Fairly recently, my friend, we could have kicked you.
And there are one or two antics creeping into rugby that I hate. And they indicate lack of respect for the opposition and a lack of nerve from the game's rulers.
You see, you might want to talk to me about fans booing players taking kicks. As I have said before I have no problem with that because it's what happens on the pitch that is important to me. That's what young players watch. I don't care if Mrs Bloggs from 3 Helensburgh Drive in Jordanhill is booing a French kicker because she has no interaction with him.
But spending, as I do, my life watching rugby I see it change weekly. And you have to understand that I am a coach too so I absolutely think that what happens on the pitch is coached, or at least instructed from the top and practised in training.
So here are my pet hates in modern rugby:
Free kicks: As soon as one team is awarded a free kick the other team puts the ball as far away from them as possible. I saw it when Edinburgh played Ulster on Sunday, when Glasgow played Leinster on Friday, and when Munster played the Ospreys on the telly. It's so petty. It's so sneaky. It's so pathetic.
Lineouts: The team not throwing the ball in makes sure the other team can't throw it in quickly by doing the very same as they do at free kicks.
Not rolling away at the tackle: This has gone beyond a joke. A friend of mine wrote an article principally accusing the Irish provinces of this and, while Munster are kings at breakdown and in-particular at blocking the path of quick ball, they are not alone and most rugby sides now appear to have coached their tacklers to stay in an obstructing location while pretending to be trapped. "Look ref, my arms are outstretched. I am trapped!" It's pathetic. At the weekend, Munster were penalised for it but everyone seems to be at it and it's getting to me.
Crowding the ref: I thought this only happened in football. It's happening in rugby
Time wasting: If one more prop goes down feigning an injury so that the game can't restart, thereby allowing a centre to be treated, I will run down from the stand and hit him.
Blocking: The amount of blocking in front of backs move is almost unbelievable.
There, got it off my chest.
A crowd can stay silent at a kick while a team cheats on the pitch and you want me to be happy? Do me a favour. It's what happens on the pitch that counts and we are losing the plot.
Referees should be given a dossier as to what each team is up to. The first time they try it should see a yellow card. And pretty soon we would weed out this pathetic stuff from our game. We would pretty soon have a game without props if they keep feigning injuries. I love my game. I hate cheating.