The Wallabies taking a knee is a matter of conscience

There are few if any opportunities in life where most individuals have an opportunity to make a decision that can positively impact the lives of many. With debate surrounding whether the Wallabies should take a knee during the national anthem in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, next Saturday’s Test match against the All […]

The Wallabies taking a knee is a matter of conscience

There are few if any opportunities in life where most individuals have an opportunity to make a decision that can positively impact the lives of many.

With debate surrounding whether the Wallabies should take a knee during the national anthem in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, next Saturday’s Test match against the All Blacks is such a day.

For those of us who have been born white, we have automatically been born into privilege.

Please do not misunderstand me. Privilege does not necessarily mean financial wealth.

But what is does mean is that we are automatically afforded rights that some of us either do not realise we have or that we may take for granted.

Many years ago, as a starry-eyed 20-year-old kid, I was on my first Australian Barbarians tour to regional Queensland. One of the places we visited was Mt Isa.

The memory of the game that the team played is not what has stuck in my mind after 40 years.

Rather, it was walking into a shop and being told by a shopkeeper who was about my age now that if an Aboriginal person was bleeding to death in the street outside her shop she would walk straight past them.

I couldn’t believe what she said. I couldn’t believe how one human being could have such callous disregard for the life of another.

As a society, we usually only improve as a consequence of social action – and it is often the bravery of a few instigating action that ultimately swells into an unstoppable force for change.

It’s called conscience – a social conscience.

The easy thing, of course, is to do nothing. To not rock the boat. Unless, of course, that is what each individual firmly believes to be the right thing to do. And if so, then so be it.

My message to each of the Wallabies is simply this.

Michael Hooper models the Wallabies’ Indigenous jersey. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

If you feel strongly on this issue, then make your own individual decision. You may never get another opportunity to make such a statement – whatever that may be.

And if you do decide to take a knee and you make enemies – so what.

The Aboriginal population of this land we all call home have been fighting for hundreds of years against injustice – and usually with one if not both hands tied behind their back.

To Nick Farr-Jones, I say this. I love you, brother, but you are the epitome of white privilege. And on this issue, it is for the individual to decide what to do what is right for them – not you.

To each and every player, and other group members of the Wallabies, this is simple.

Just like rugby – simple but hard.

Act on what your inner voice is telling you, whatever that may be.

For when the lights go out on your career and you are reflecting on events from years gone by, you will be left with the one judge who matters most.

Your conscience.

Source : The Roar More   

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A look into Ireland’s Six Nations clash against Italy

Level-five lockdown has slumped Ireland into mourning this weekend. The gloomy expression of avid rugby fans can rest slightly as the Six Nations returns this weekend. Fans had a deserved sneak preview into the form of many of the Irish squad during the PRO14 and European Cup with Leinster providing its macho dominance among the […]

A look into Ireland’s Six Nations clash against Italy

Level-five lockdown has slumped Ireland into mourning this weekend.

The gloomy expression of avid rugby fans can rest slightly as the Six Nations returns this weekend.

Fans had a deserved sneak preview into the form of many of the Irish squad during the PRO14 and European Cup with Leinster providing its macho dominance among the league’s frailty. Leinster’s player supremacy is reflected in Ireland’s match-day squad against Italy on Saturday in Dublin.

The theme of this clash will be the fresh faces of Will Connors and Hugo Keenan earning a position in Andy Farrell’s starting XV. Their international debut for the 2020 Six Nations would have been short-lived with COVID pushing the competition back in March, but they earned their respective spots in the updated squad.

Kildare man Connors gets the nod at openside flanker in a back row that also includes fellow 2020 Test debutant Caelan Doris and Munster’s CJ Stander. Leinster ace Keenan joins Jacob Stockdale and Andrew Conway in the back three.

Along with Connors and Keenan Farrell, I have been impressed with the Leinster duo Ed Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park, who are also in line to make their international bows after being named among the replacements.

Not many international teams can admit to having an abundance of midfield options but it has proven to be the biggest debate in recent weeks. The familiar Bundee Aki and Gary Ringrose centre pair has left the likes of Robbie Henshaw on the bench with Stuart McCloskey and Chris Farrell being left out completely. Farrell has expressed his difficulty in picking his centre pair with all five players being the pinnacle man in their respective provinces.

Despite injury concerns, Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray will continue their partnership against the Azzurri. It will be intriguing to see the systems that Ireland will adapt to in the remaining two games.

(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The main concern for Ireland is the lack of willingness to run the ball wide and the overuse of the box kick. While it may not make a difference playing against the standard of Italy it is something to be conscious of when we meet France the following week. Munster has proved against Saracens the shortcomings related to box kicking and the development of the defence in many clubs and countries to counteract its efficiency.

However, Ireland has progressed since the Joe Schmidt era with the team oozing young talent. It will be alluring to witness their progression under new management and a varied mix of talent.

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Italy have made five changes to their lineout to face the Irish. The most significant alterations to their line-up are Paolo Garbisi replacing Tommaso Allan with Marcello Violi coming in for Callum Braley at scrumhalf. In addition, Italy’s coach Franco Smith has settled on moving Braam Steyn from number eight to openside, Jake Polledri from blindside to number eight with Sebastian Negri selected at blindside after playing as an openside against the Scots.

Ireland are 1/100 favourites heading into this match and with a bonus point crucial in their quest to be Six Nations champions, the odds suggest they will fly over this hurdle before the big finale against France.

Source : The Roar More   

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