Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Buck Calls for End to Cheap Shots

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Buck Calls for End to Cheap Shots

Article excerpt


SARACENS coach Wayne 'Buck' Shelford and Warren Gatland, the London Wasps chief, today joined forces to highlight the "cheap shots" they insist are blighting English rugby.

The two former New Zealand internationals believe the imminent arrival of the All Blacks, who face England at Twickenham on 9 November, will prove to the doubters that it is possible to play high-quality rugby without resorting to illegal play through the boot and the punch.

After watching his side lose 26-18 to champions Leicester, Shelford said: "It's about discipline and I am trying to coach this into them. Instead of talking back I tell them "just bite your lip" because they may be able to spout off, but their rugby skills need to be better. They have to be a lot bigger than just giving a guy a nudge because we don't need it.

"It has been in British rugby for such a long time and there are a lot of cheap shots going on.

The game has moved on in New Zealand but it hasn't over here on this evidence.

"The All Blacks will hit their opponents hard in the tackle and then move on and play rugby.

Over here, we are seeing the standard of rugby dropping and crowds don't want to see rubbish and teams citing each other.

"I was surprised that just one of their players went to the sin-bin.

(Saracens centre) Kevin Sorrell was yellow-carded for not rolling away from the ball, while another of our players got a deliberate punch in the face - is that not a yellow card any more?"

Gatland agrees with Shelford, but has decided not to take any action after watching the video of his team's impressive 23-16 victory over leaders Gloucester, which saw Adam Eustace sent off for the visitors for stamping on Wasps fly-half Alex King.

King was later concussed by what Gatland believes was a high tackle, but no action will be taken against the Gloucester player who delivered the blow.

King will have a precautionary scan later this week and faces a mandatory three-week rest. …

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