Applauding rugby values
DESPITE lifting a cup and totting up 77 unanswered points, the most memorable moment of Jersey Reds Athletic's victory over a Gibraltar Select undoubtedly came immediately after the whistle for half time.
Athletic’s squad and backroom staff lined-up across the pitch for a minute’s applause, as part of a nationwide display – and message to the Rugby Football Union – of how highly the values of community rugby are rated, alongside the immense efforts of volunteers, supporters and paid staff alike. The crowd joined in enthusiastically,
This, of course, is in light of the RFU’s recent and incredibly badly-timed announcement that they are effectively ending the possibility of a genuine Championship club (as opposed to a relegated Premiership club, with their parachute payments) being able to reach the top flight, by slashing funding to the second tier by some 40%. Pulling back a little by announcing the cuts would be staggered over two summers rather than one is being regarded as being a sticking plaster over a gaping wound.
Added to the Premiership also cutting funding to the Championship (and giving notice of a complete withdrawal of their funds to the second tier), it undoubtedly puts the full-time-professional future of any club not backed by an owner’s deep pockets in serious doubt.
The RFU’s chief executive has indicated that they will discuss the future role of the Championship in the near future, so it is hoped that nationwide shows of support such as Saturday’s (and again on Sunday during Reds Women’s 35-0 victory over St Francis) will make them think again.
Match report in Monday's JEP.
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