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GoffonRugby - On Blood, Guts and Crossover Athletes

Wednesday Sep 2, 2009 in Columns GoffonRugby

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Blood …
Most interesting is the story that the Harlequins in London have been slammed with sanctions due to their role in a fake injury scandal. Basically the ‘Quins were found guilty of having faked blood injuries on several occasions in order to get another player on the field for a brief period.

We at ERugbyNews immediately got emails saying this has happened on American teams as well. Maybe so, you can see the attraction. Say you’ve subbed off your front-line goalkicker. Kicker #2 gets injured. You can’t bring kicker #1 back, but you can if there’s a blood sub. So the quick application of some red substance and voila, kicker #1 comes back on.

The difference between that and Harlequins is that this was systematic, and in a professional league. Watch for officials to start checking those blood substitutions a lot closer.

and Guts
Perhaps of great import was that Harlequins Director of Rugby Dean Richards was banned for three years. As soon as word got around that maybe Richards would seek rugby employment elsewhere, such as South of the Equator, the IRB came out with a statement saying the suspension would be upheld worldwide.

That’s something we can get behind. The IRB has to back that kind of sanction up, and we have to applaud the IRB for its steps in trying to standardize punishments.

We had a short but pleasant conversation with the crossover athlete du jour, Leonard Peters. The Aspen 7s player who made his USA debut at the World Games says rugby has hooked him.

“I love it,” Peters said. “Can’t get enough.”

Oddly, in a recent interview with former Harvard football star Will Johnson, he said almost exactly the same thing. Must look into this rugby thing.

But I think the guys to really notice are Dallas Robinson and Jonathan Prater. Remember them? They tried out for the USA 7s team, didn’t quite make it, and then got injured. It shows a lot about their heart and character that they have worked their way back to health and are ready to play again.

Worth noting, USA 7s coach Al Caravelli said that if he had to do it over again, he would have taken Robinson or Prater with the 7s team as the 12th man. That would have helped in their development. It worked with Peters.

And Some Backbone
You may remember the letter sent by various members of the USA Rugby Congress asking for some information – they wanted details on what the Board was up to before the October Board/Congress meeting, so they could make informed decisions.

We checked late last week. No answer given; only a rather cursory reference to some sort of forthcoming information. Well that’s a strong hint as to how the Board views the Congress. Then again, with news already out that Peter Seccia and Bill Middleton are as good as confirmed for places on the Board (Middleton returning, Goldman Sachs exec. Seccia, who is also on the Board of Play Rugby, new), it’s getting pretty clear that congress-members’ feelings of irrelevancy might well be accurate.

Congress has to ratify the selection of Seccia and Middleton. What if they decide that one way to show some backbone is to not ratify?

- Alex Goff

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