Rugby in the Headlines: Marler, Leinster, Borthwick and Howley
Local rugby news is slow in the new year, so let’s take a look at what’s grabbing the headlines elsewhere.
Joe Marler got in trouble over the holidays by trying to wind up an opposing player with comments about his mom. The Harlequins were playing Bristol and twice Marler cast aspersions towards the character of an opposing player’s mother. Apparently it’s his “go to line” when sledging opposing players. He received a 6 week ban, 2 weeks to be served immediately and 4 weeks suspended until after the 2023/24 season. He also has to “give two presentations; one to a local club or school; the other to a Premiership academys staff and players (but which shall not be at Harlequins)”. It’s not clear on the details of the presentations he has to make, “Why You Shouldn’t Call Your Opponent’s Mom…”. Props [shakes head], they truly are a different breed.
More apologies were in the headlines, Leinster apparently played the Wolf Tones’ Celtic Symphony over the stadium loud speaker after their win over Connacht. One line of the song states, “Ooh ah up the RA, say ooh ah up the RA”. Apparently it’s distasteful as it’s a pro-IRA chant. The Irish women’s soccer team got in trouble in October for singing it and the FAI, I’m guessing Football Association of Ireland, were fined 20,000 by UEFA. I think I can see where 2023 is going already.
Moving from misdeeds/apologies to firings/dismissals, new England coach Steve Borthwick is bringing in his own coaching staff and the current forwards coach, South African Matt Proudfoot, is leaving. He’s apparently got a job at a South African university as head coach.
Still in the coaching world, this story has some Canadian content, news from Wales that Rob Howley has been told “it’s too soon” to return to Warren Gatland’s coaching team. He has to complete his contract with the Canada national team, “thought to be in its final year”. The following is from a Wales Online article.
Rob Howley has been told it’s “too soon” for him to return to the Wales coaching set-up.
The former Wales attack coach and long-time ally of Warren Gatland had been seen as the prime contender for his old job after Stephen Jones’ departure from the role.
But the chances of that happening appear to have receded with doubts emerging about whether the time is right to welcome back the ex-Lions scrum-half after his ban in 2019 for breaching betting rules.
Howley has been rebuilding his career with a role as assistant coach to the Canada national team, with his contract thought to be in its final year.
There you have it, rugby news at the beginning of 2023, it can only go up from here.