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Premiership's anti-racism campaign takes Ford-Robinson by surprise

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

Gloucester prop Jamal Ford-Robinson has suggested the Rugby Against Racism campaign for the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership restart may not be as player-led as one would believe. 

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Ahead of the return to league action this weekend in England, each club is showing support and solidarity in the fight against racism under the banner of Rugby Against Racism. 

This will range from players taking the knee, forming huddles, V-shapes, heart shapes and wearing t-shirts. Gloucester, alongside Worcester Warriors, have opted to form a V before facing each other this Saturday at Sixways. 

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However, upon the announcement of this campaign on Wednesday, Ford-Robinson said on Twitter that it was the first he had heard of it. 

Premiership Rugby said that “a working group comprising of black players from across the league” had been set-up, but Gloucester tighthead Ford-Robinson had clearly been out of the loop.

This does not appear to be a criticism of the movement, nor is there anything wrong with club officials making such decisions, but it does bring into question how much input players have had in the process – or at least those from Gloucester.

The 26-year-old then proceeded to ask on Twitter who decided that his side would be standing in a V. On top of that, he shared a photo of a flock of sheep standing in a V, leaving his followers to infer what they wish from that. 

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A lot has happened since the last round of Premiership action in March and the vast majority of sports that have already returned to action since the Covid-19 outbreak have shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in various ways. 

Indeed, rugby in England has faced its own problems over the past weeks regarding the branding of Exeter Chiefs. 

This general response across the Premiership has proven to be popular amongst players, but Ford-Robinson has now offered a slightly different perspective.

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