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Wednesday Jun 15, 2022

Ex-England winger claims rugby must change drinking culture

Much has changed since the golden days of amateur rugby. An aspect that has not changed however is the social side of the game.

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One of the draws of the grassroots game has always been the social side. A few beers after the game with your mates can be just as enjoyable as the game itself.

This attitude has been a staple of rugby for as long as many can remember, but there are a few who now believe things now need to change.

Speaking to the Telegraph, BT Sport pundit, Ugo Monye had the following to say on the matter:

“Rugby, just by the dynamic of the game, really and truly is a game for all shapes and sizes from the physical aspect, beyond that, it should also reflect every single attitude. It should be the best reflection of society.

“There has always been a heavy drinking culture within rugby. I invested heavily into that as well during my playing days, and I enjoyed it.

“But if I was in Birmingham, in a densely populated Muslim community, and my teenage kids wanted to play rugby, as a parent, my perception of rugby would be: ‘All they do is drink after every match – I don’t want my children to be a part of that.’

“Rugby can’t be afraid of what it is, but I do think it also needs to mirror the present day and where we are in society.”

In regards to ensuring the inclusivity of the LGBQT+ community, Monye referred to his old Harlequins teammate Simon Miall, only feeling comfortable coming out as gay after he left the rugby environment.

“When Simon came out when he retired, automatically you think, ‘oh gosh, what kind of environment did we foster at Harlequins for him to maybe not be comfortable enough? Where did the pressure come from for him not to be his full self at work where he spent a lot of time with us – away trips, tours, pre-seasons?’

“I think we had what I’d call a fairly laddish changing room. I ashamedly say it not because I think we purposely went out to hurt people or upset people or anything like that. But when the consequence of that is someone potentially not wanting to reveal the core of themselves within that setting, you start to understand.”

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