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Northampton Saints statement: Luther Burrell

By Kim Ekin
Luther Burrell has only been out of rugby union for roughly 12 months

Northampton Saints have issued a statement that has clarifed that centre Luther Burrell did not suffer any racial abuse while at the midlands club.

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In an explosive interview with the Daily Mail, Burrell described dressing room racial “banter” that has “become normal” and “needs to be addressed”, including receiving comments about bananas, fried chicken and slavery and being greeted with a racial slur.

During his time in rugby union in the Gallagher Premiership, Burrell played at Leeds, Sale Sharks, Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons.

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Northampton have said they were ‘reassured’ to learn that the incident did not occur during Burrell’s time at Franklin’s Gardens.

“Everyone at Northampton Saints was saddened and appalled to read Luther Burrell’s comments published yesterday, detailing the racist abuse he has experienced during his playing career,” said Mark Darbon, Chief Executive at Northampton Saints.

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“The Club condemns all forms of discrimination, and yesterday reached out to Luther to offer our support and applaud his bravery in speaking out.

“We were reassured during our conversation that Luther did not experience any racial abuse during his time at Northampton Saints. The Club will continue its ongoing work to make sure that Franklin’s Gardens remains an inclusive environment for all Northampton players, staff and supporters.

“We have invited Luther to return to Franklin’s Gardens in the coming months to contribute towards the Diversity and Inclusion projects already being delivered by the Club’s community and commercial staff.

“Saints will welcome and support any wider action taken by the RFU and Premiership Rugby to improve education and awareness across Rugby Union, so that we can eradicate discrimination from our game.”

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finn 9 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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