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  • It is time we found out what rugby union ultimately wants to be | Robert Kitson | Sport

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See the news It is time we found out what rugby union ultimately wants to be | Robert Kitson | Sport from Source Digital Trends on 16/04/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.

It is time we found out what rugby union ultimately wants to be | Robert Kitson | Sport

Easter week used to rank among the most convivial of the rugby union year. In more innocent times there would be end-of-season tours, not least by the Barbarians who would head to south Wales to play Penarth on Good Friday, Cardiff on the Saturday, Swansea on Easter Monday and Newport on Tuesday, with golf thrown in on Easter Sunday. The evenings were just as hectic; the great Haydn Mainwaring famously returned to the team’s base at the Esplanade Hotel in Penarth one night to find five sheep in the foyer.Billy Vunipola warned by Saracens over his support for Israel Folau Read more In rugby nowadays such harmless fun is an increasingly alien notion. This Easter, in particular, the sport finds itself caught in a moral maze that threatens many of the values it theoretically holds dear. One of the world’s best players has been sacked for homophobic posts on social media, another roundly booed at an English league game for publicly appearing to offer his support while the latter’s club is under investigation for allegedly cheating the salary cap. Let’s just say rugby has not given up controversy for Lent.In many ways it is easier to query the Old Testament beliefs of Israel Folau than address the broader picture of intolerance, finger-pointing, law-bending and financial desperation afflicting so many aspects of the game. Everyone in 2019 can surely agree that homophobia, racism and sexism are entirely unacceptable in all walks of life; rugby’s challenge, beyond re-emphasising that fundamental message, is to apply this unity of spirit to other key areas as well.Leave aside, for now, the whole debate about the future structure of the global game and, ideally, finding a solution for the greater good. Instead, answer this simple question: what does rugby, ultimately, want to be? Does it wish to be seen as a collective beacon of fair play, integrity and honesty? Or would it prefer to remain in devil-take-the-hindmost territory, with more and more people blatantly out for whatever they can get? Increasingly it would appear these two aspirations are mutually exclusive.Take the salary cap, for example. There is insufficient space here to examine all the financial niceties but, basically, Premiership Rugby is examining whether assisted property investments entered into by several leading Saracens players are actually benefits in kind and, as such, should be included under salary cap regulations. The Saracens owner, Nigel Wray, without whom the club might still be playing on a public park in north London, says everything is above board. Some of those wondering how on earth Saracens have managed to stockpile so many top players under existing salary cap regulations beg to differ.The outcome, one way or another, will be instructive. Should Saracens be found guilty – to be clear, they deny any wrongdoing – it might restore some of the faith forfeited by the opaque nature of previous salary cap investigations. There...

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See the news It is time we found out what rugby union ultimately wants to be | Robert Kitson | Sport from Source Digital Trends on 16/04/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.