Former England fly-half Danny Cipriani has sparked a heated debate on Twitter by suggesting that diving or simulation could be seen as part of the “theatre” of rugby union. In recent weeks, there has been talk about diving or simulation in rugby union, with examples in both the Guinness Six Nations and Gallagher Premiership being used to suggest that the practice is creeping into the game.

Cipriani took to Twitter to voice his opinion on the matter, saying: “If we use rugby to pretend we are better than everyone else and enforce a moral compass, our sport will crumble. It is a game. It is theatre. When footballers go down it’s all part of the action. Let’s stop judging and start enjoying.”

He added: “As a sport, we try to take a moral high ground. The majority of defence coaches teach ways to slow the game down (cheat) or is it tactics? We may not like it but trying to act better than everyone else is breaking our sport.

“I’m not saying that everyone should be diving. It happens once in a blue moon. But late hits, nonsense happening in rucks and mauls to gain an advantage which is all part of it is accepted. It’s like going down with a sinking ship sticking to this moral high ground!

“The sport is crumbling before our eyes. Participation is down. Clubs are going bankrupt. Yet we want to say soccer is the lowest level? Anything to do with class? Soccer is a far more honest sport than rugby.”

Some have agreed with Cipriani’s stance, while others have strongly disagreed. Journalist James Gray wrote in response: “I’m not sure it is part of the theatre – and there is nothing IMHO wrong with being aspirational with a sport. Sport improves people’s lives – in many different ways – and I don’t think it should apologise for that.”

Former Wales player Lee Jarvis wasn’t impressed. “Are you insinuating that it would be OK for Rugby players to start diving/play acting to get players binned or sent off? Must be a joke?”

2023-03-30T12:23:37Z dg43tfdfdgfd