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England Rugby, Six Nations and BBC condemn abuse directed at presenter

By Ian Cameron
PA

England Rugby, the Six Nations and the BBC have condemned abuse directed at presenter Sonja McLaughlan following yesterday’s Guinness Six Nations match between Wales and England.

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McLaughlan came in for the abuse following her post-match interviews with Owen Farrell, Eddie Jones, Wayne Pivac and Alun Wyn Jones. Critics took issue with her line of questioning and her focus on the refereeing of Pascal Gauzere, among other gripes.

Such was the extent of the online shellacking that it left the veteran journalist ‘crying’ in her car.

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Owen Farrell fronts after England’s loss to Wales:

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Owen Farrell fronts after England’s loss to Wales:

“Toxic, embarrassing, disgraceful, appalling. Just some of the feedback I’ve had,” McLaughlan wrote on Twitter. “Thanks for using @ sign so it’s all hit home. Now imagine getting inundated with abuse for doing your job. In my car crying. Hope you’re happy.”

Now England Rugby, the Six Nations and the BBC have issued statements condemning the trolling she received.

England Rugby tweeted this morning: “Sonja, we are really sorry to hear this and hope you are ok. Abuse for doing your job is not OK and we stand with you. We will see you for the next one. Hold your head high and know you have our support.

“Rugby’s core values are Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship. Whether we are fans, players, coaches, referees, volunteers or in the media we are all part of the rugby community. We should all aim to hold ourselves to these values of our great game.”

The Six Nations official Twitter account also weighed in: “Sonja, we join with the rest of the rugby community to say that this is not ok. Respect is a value of rugby we hold in the highest regard. Abuse of public figures or members of the media on social media or anywhere else is not acceptable.”

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The BBC issued a statement saying: “BBC Sport strongly condemns the online abuse experienced by Sonja McLaughlan after the Wales v England match,” it said.

“Sonja has long been a key member of our Six Nations team and she absolutely has our full support.”

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Jon 1 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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