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The Sinckler F-bomb fallout: 'This is something you can't let go any further'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

RugbyPass Offload co-hosts Ryan Wilson and Simon Zebo have expressed relief that Kyle Sinckler of England and Liam Williams of Wales were both caught mouthing off to referees last weekend and will now miss the opening round of the 2021 Six Nations.


England prop Sinckler was cited for swearing last Saturday at referee Karl Dickson during Bristol’s win at Exeter, an F-bomb that resulted in him earning a suspension for that outburst that will only expire after his country have played their opening round match versus Scotland.

Meanwhile, Wales back Liam Williams was banned for the manner in which he raced into a ruck during Scarlets’ defeat last weekend by Cardiff Blues. He was banned for that intervention, ruling him out of Wales’ home game with Ireland but he also generated much negativity for the disrespectful way he spoke to referee Craig Evans after he was shown the red card. 

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Referee JP Doyle joins Simon Zebo and Ryan Wilson on RugbyPass Offload

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Referee JP Doyle joins Simon Zebo and Ryan Wilson on RugbyPass Offload

Scotland international Wilson and Ireland counterpart Zebo believe it was proper order for both Sinckler and Williams to be hugely criticised for their unnecessary chat, fearing that the erosion of respect for the referee will put rugby on the slippery slope to becoming like football where swearing at match officials and openly criticising them seems to be a tolerated practice.  

Asked about negative comments by players towards referees in rugby, Glasgow back row Wilson said: “It probably has got worse. The problem with all the microphones and stuff, you can hear so much more so it is more noticeable on the pitch… I read somewhere that Kyle Sinckler and Karl Dickson were former teammates, so the problem sometimes is they know each other too well and it gets on players’ nerves. 

“I still don’t think there is any place for it [swearing]. It has got worse and one thing you don’t want is it getting anything like football. That is one thing I do respect, how you speak to the ref, how you deal with him. I took my son up to football here in Glasgow and honestly I saw these eight-to-ten-year-olds running around playing football and the way they are speaking to each other, speaking to the ref, you just think it is a disgrace how they speak to the ref in football. You don’t want that coming anywhere near rugby, no way at all. It’s probably something that needs to be stamped out.”

Show co-host Zebo, the Racing 92 full-back, added: “I agree. I just don’t think there is any real need for it. I’m sure, as you said, he [Sinckler] probably knows him [Dickson] real well and stuff but if there is anything so serious or so bad, there are so many cameras nowadays it is going to come up and it is not going to be so blatant that he will miss it. 


“There is a level of respect there that you need to have. These are things you are taught from a young age. You are taught respect and discipline. These are things that rugby engrains in you. The only thing that differs the older you get is the ego gets a little bit bigger so you feel like, ‘Oh, I can say these things’. I wouldn’t be for that at all. 

“I’m sure it was a split second where he [Sinckler] just lost control and it’s different when you are in heat of the battle, but it’s not a good look for rugby. Same with Liam Williams the other day. What he said when he was leaving the pitch, it’s a red card, there is no two ways about it the way he went into the ruck. 

“He is another really nice guy. Really like him as a player as well. Couldn’t say a bad word about him but it’s just not a good look for the game. Hopefully, they will learn their lesson and they change it, but those early values you get ingrained in you from a kid playing rugby, respect, discipline, all these things. Everybody makes mistakes but this is something you can’t let go any further.”


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