England lock Courtney Lawes on what rugby must stop being apologetic about


England lock Courtney Lawes reckons rugby needs to stop beating around the bush and embrace the physicality of it and what comes along with that.

Organisers have been working tirelessly in recent years to make the sport safer than ever, and while no one is suggesting we stray away from that, with health more important than anything, Lawes believes the sport cannot sacrifice that which is at its core.

The game can be dangerous at times, as most sports are, but the sheer nature of its physicality can be quite remarkable, and is perhaps why the game is so scrutinised in certain areas.

But that is part of what makes it the game we love, according to the former British and Irish Lion.

“We need to grow rugby as a business, as a sport and as a form of entertainment that people really want to get stuck into,” Lawes wrote in his Times column.

“We do that by leaning into all the different aspects that make rugby exciting: the speed of the players, passing skills, the line breaks, the turnovers, the respect, the camaraderie — and the raw physicality.

“Rugby is a dangerous game and people like that.

The fan favourites are always the players most willing to put their bodies on the line for the shirt, for the team. That is what people want to see from professional rugby players.

“People love the big hits and off-the-ball scraps, especially as they are always followed by players shaking hands after the game and going back to being mates.

“That is what rugby is.

“That is what makes rugby a great game and we need to start being unapologetic about that.”

What do you think? Is Lawes right?

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