Welsh coach Warren Gatland’s admission that the idea of faking injury to a player so as to move a World Cup semi-final against France to uncontested scrums and try to nullify an opponent’s numerical advantage was considered and rejected has given insight to the realpolitik of rugby.
And it doesn’t have to be in the highest echelons either that the practice has occurred; at least that is what some followers of the Scottish club scene suspect.
What’s certain is that the topic arose after Edinburgh Accies’ 13-18 defeat last weekend by Aberdeen Grammar which had seen the Capital side confronted by Scottish World Cup prop forward Moray Low from the professional Glasgow Warriors team on a one-off basis, so he could get a game and never mind any distortion to the competition’s key issues.
Aware of the supposed practice of contriving uncontested scrums, I put it to Accies coach Simon Cross that others might have been less scrupulous than him as he had played it straight throughout.
An unequivocal Cross said: “My job is to develop these guys and I can’t develop them by saying go to uncontested scrums.
“It was a case of absolutely not. We took them on.”
If that was the only response expected of someone like Simon Cross it was typical, too, that he did not duck a live issue rugby has to find a way of addressing.