'Slide' rule must be policed to help prevent unnecessary injuries
With all the heated talk surrounding the out-half dilemma, one of the saddest stories of this great rugby year has slipped under the radar. I refer to Fergus McFadden's injury sustained in the act of scoring Leinster's third try against Scarlets.
I had better be careful here, with the injury described as 'hamstring' or of the kind that is generally self-inflicted in the act of over-sprinting or over-stretching. It would be difficult therefore to nail any responsibility on his opposite number Steff Evans, who was trying to prevent him scoring at the time.
So to be absolutely clear this is not a cut at Evans per se but at the culture within rugby that allows last-ditch tacklers to slide into the ball-carrier as he is in the act of scoring and at his most vulnerable.
I have suffered this in my time and it is a bitter pill - whether it is a dead leg, a damaged rib or some soft-tissue injury the unnecessary outcome. It is one obvious area that's in need of address by rugby's powers that be. And, might I add, it's also time for match officials to apply a little bit of understanding.
I would put McFadden in the same bracket as John Muldoon when it comes to representing his province. Passion oozes from his every play. Depending on the severity of the 'hamstring', I doubt he will make the Champions Cup final, leaving a very real sense of injustice.
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