WHAT (RUGBY) BALLS! 'Experts' Are Demanding a Ban on Tackles in Under-18s Rugby. but as We Reveal, They're a Motley Scrum of Lefties, Genderobsessives and Gay Campaigners with a Worryingly Insidious Agenda

Daily Mail (London), March 3, 2016 | Go to article overview

WHAT (RUGBY) BALLS! 'Experts' Are Demanding a Ban on Tackles in Under-18s Rugby. but as We Reveal, They're a Motley Scrum of Lefties, Genderobsessives and Gay Campaigners with a Worryingly Insidious Agenda


Byline: John MacLeod

ON THE face of it, the open letter calling for a ban on tackling in school rugby smacked of authority and expertise.

Sent to Ministers, Chief Medical Officers and Children's Commissioners, it warned that the risks of injuries for those under 18 playing the sport are unacceptably high and the injuries are often serious. The letter made headlines in every newspaper, and debate over its call for a tackling-ban raged yesterday on broadcasting outlets across the country.

But scratch the surface of its signatories -- a list of more than 70 professors, doctors and other academics -- and their authority appears rather less impressive.

True, there are specialists in sports injuries among them. But an awful lot of these 'experts' have no medical knowledge of sports injuries. Many specialise instead in gender issues and politics.

The list of signatories includes two sociologists whose academic subjects are sexuality and sport.

Another specialises in sport and race, still another studies homophobia, two concentrate on children's rights, and there's an expert in environmental pollution as well as a specialist in masculinity.

As for the letter's two main signatories, neither are experts in broken bones and spinal injuries. First, let us look at Allyson Pollock. Yes, she's a professor of public health research at Queen Mary University, London. But she specialises in attacking the Government's NHS reforms, particularly any suggestion of the private sector intervening in the hallowed NHS.

To be fair to Professor Pollock, her son was injured on the rugby field -- a shattered cheekbone -- which must be distressing for any parent. But does that really give her the authority to try to emasculate the game for children across the country? Not according to Dr Ken Quarrie, Senior Scientist (Injury Prevention & Performance) for the New Zealand Rugby Union. Five years ago, when Professor Pollock called for 'high tackles and scrums to be banned in schools', he accused her of wilfully misrepresenting research about schoolboy injuries to prove her case.

In an internet blog criticising Pollock, he highlighted an extensive review of rugby injuries which found 'the risk of catastrophic injury was comparable with that experienced by most people in workbased situations and lower than that experienced by motorcyclists, pedestrians and car occupants'.

Now, let's take the other main signatory, Professor Eric Anderson of the University of Winchester. He is an American sociologist and sexologist, 'specialising in adolescent men's gender and sexualities'.

Until now, he's been most prominent for getting into a row with Alan Titchmarsh, the Chancellor of Winchester University, who wasn't happy with Professor Anderson's views on having sex with young men. And you can see why. In 2011, Professor Anderson revealed at an Oxford University debate that he had slept with 'easily over a thousand people', and joked he was a sexual 'predator'. He said: 'I like sex with 16, 17, 18-year-old boys particularly, it's getting harder for me to get them, but I'm still finding them.

'I hope between the age of 43 and the time I die I can have sex with another thousand -- that would be awesome, even if I have to buy them, of course, not a problem.' What's the connection between this man's curious CV and his ability to judge the risks of rugby injuries? Nope -- I don't see it, either.

And so it goes on with many of the other signatories -- a series of Leftwing academics.

There's Professor John Ashton, a lecturer in public health, and another opponent of the Government's NHS reforms. He's keen, too, to reduce stress for workers and on lowering the age of sexual consent to 15, arguing that the current legal limit prevents sexually active younger teennagers from getting support with issues of disease and contraception.

Several of the signatories specialise in gender and sexuality issues in sport. …

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WHAT (RUGBY) BALLS! 'Experts' Are Demanding a Ban on Tackles in Under-18s Rugby. but as We Reveal, They're a Motley Scrum of Lefties, Genderobsessives and Gay Campaigners with a Worryingly Insidious Agenda
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