Former England captain Dylan Hartley has given his opinion on the events that took place around the Calcutta Cup this weekend.
Before the match, England were met with a wall of abuse as they entered Murrayfield. High performance manager Neil Craig was hit on the head with a plastic bottle, with some dispute over whether the bottle was thrown or blown by the heavy winds.
Ellis Genge’s interview after the match also received criticism, as he responded to the negative press England received after the loss to France the week before, all the while drinking a beer.
'These standards don’t change for one player, even if that’s not what they experience in their club setting'https://t.co/yYTamFGrUC
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 10, 2020
Hartley is not the first person to defend the prop in the wake of the interview, suggesting the events over the weekend could have damaging effects on the game.
He said: “If people are throwing things at the team & are disgusted that Genge has a beer post game & says what he’s actually thinking, you can say goodbye to personality & rugby as you know it.”
Former England flanker James Haskell is another player who has backed the 24-year-old and how he conducted himself in the interview.
We want pro rugby players to be accessible, approachable & relatable. If people are throwing things at the team & are disgusted that Genge has a beer post game & says what he’s actually thinking, you can say goodbye to personality & rugby as you know it. You can’t have it all. https://t.co/yQLZCCk6ep
— Dylan Hartley (@DylanHartley) February 9, 2020
The former hooker Hartley said that we want players to be “accessible, approachable & relatable”, but that is being compromised.
Eddie Jones has also been critical of the way his side were treated, highlighting the crowd’s reaction to Owen Farrell’s place kicks.
England earned a hard-fought 13-6 victory at Murrayfield in truly horrendous conditions. Genge’s late try proved decisive in earning England the win, and keeping them in contention of winning the Six Nations. While there has been a negative reaction to his interview, there are as many, if not more, people who have backed the Leicester Tigers forward, particularly for calling to attention the criticism his team have received over the past week.
Hartley, who himself was a controversial figure at times during his career, clearly feels that the game should not try and quieten characters like that.
Watch: Eddie Jones warns against Six Nations expansion.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.