In case you weren’t aware (and if you weren’t, where have you been?), rugby union people are dicks.
In the latest example of rah-rah’s dickliness (it’s a word, we’re using it), the Warriors must overcome needless red tape in order to play a 2018 pre-season clash in Masterton, due to a stipulation in the Trust House Memorial Park contract that no rugby league be played at the ground, according to Stuff.
To be fair, the local council doesn’t think it will be an issue, with their economic development manager, Kieran McAnulty saying that “I think it’s really just a relic from a long rivalry between the two codes”.
“I don’t see it as an issue, and I’d be surprised if it was still New Zealand Rugby’s policy.”
Of course, he’s surely right – rugby league has been played at far bigger rugby union grounds than Masterton, such as Westpac Stadium and Eden Park, but the rule is still noteworthy, if only to raise awareness of the lengths that rugby union has historically gone to in order to cripple their rivals.
The most notable example is in France, where in the 1940s, rugby union officials, in conjuction with the Nazi-aligned Vichy regime, conspired to ban rugby league in France; seizing the assets of rugby league clubs, and in many cases directly giving them to rugby union. This was a move from which the French game has never recovered, and for which French rugby has never apologised.
“What happened under Vichy should never be forgotten, if only to prevent such a thing happening again,” said French rugby league figure Louis Bonnery in 2007. “It was a traumatism from which rugby league never recovered morally, or in terms of public recognition in France.”
“We were not even allowed to call ourselves ‘rugby’, but only ‘jeu a treize’ [the 13 game] until the 1990s.”
So, yes. Rugby union people are dicks, apparently on both sides of the equator. (And we hope this raises awareness of it.)