Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Rugby’s hard-but-fair reputation has always been a myth


meadsColin Meads, regarded by most New Zealanders as the greatest All Black of them all, delivers a diverting after-dinner speech in a self-deprecating “aw shucks” hill farmer’s style with a bottle of beer firmly clutched in a large fist.

It is only after the laughter subsides that the listener realises with a twinge of unease that the majority of the anecdotes involve Meads using one or both of his large fists to thump a member of the opposition. Illegal then and illegal now, it’s worth recalling now amid all the hot air spouted over the Harlequins fake blood scandal.

The saga of a Harlequins winger biting on a fake blood capsule in order to get a goal-kicking replacement on to the field in a Heineken Cup quarter-final has gripped the English media.

It follows revelations that young men who happen to play rugby for a living can be tempted by recreational drugs (see the Justin Harrison story), not unlike their contemporaries in other walks of life.

Infamy! Infamy! Sporting cheats and scams


johnsonIf Renault are found guilty of the race-fixing charge they face in Paris next week — and the Formula One team announced today they would not be contesting it — the incident will go down as one of the most brazen attempts at rule-breaking in sport.

As our F1 correspondent Alan Baldwin asked on this blog last week, What would you do if someone asked you to drive into a wall?

Rugby union’s black summer


It has been a black summer for rugby as the game that likes to claim the moral high ground in matters sporting has been exposed as being perfectly able get down in the gutter with the best of them.

On Saturday Dean Richards, a former policeman and stoic rugby stalwart for three decades, resigned as director of rugby at Harlequins in the wake of the London club’s shenanigans in their Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat by Leinster last season.