Why Austin Healey's 'Snowflake' Twitter Spat Is Important For Rugby

Why Austin Healey's 'Snowflake' Twitter Spat Is Important For Rugby

In the aftermath of England's comprehensive victory over Ireland, one incident from the game resulted in widespread debate on the varied and ever-temperamental platform that is Twitter.

A Manu Tuilgai ruck clear-out on Jacob Stockdale proved contentious, particularly given the current concerns around policing the breakdown in the sport. While World Rugby have made numerous attempts to address the tackle and the scrum, the ruck remains complicated and messy.

These concerns are not shared by everyone, as owner and presenter of the Blood and Mud Podcast Josh Gardner quickly discovered. After sharing footage of the incident in question, former England rugby player Austin Healey weighed in with his own insightful and nuanced take.


Gardner appeared on World in Union podcast to discuss his reservations with Healey's contribution and clarify the issue at the heart of the debate. As he explained, "I called him a bellend and it just got very out of hand from there."

The problem is not so much the messenger but the message that a clear-out of this manner does not need to be eradicated from the game.

It is right in front of the ref. We are supposed to be in a culture of rugby that is changing to become safer and prioritise player safety. We are less than a couple of months since a Welshman, Sam Warburton, retiring in a large part because of him sticking his head into rucks and getting smashed off it in that kind of dangerous and illegal way. Nothing happening, having to absorb that kind of punishment.

When it comes to pundits, this is a key issue they need to address.

One of the most helpful things in this debate has been players who have retired, horrible as it is, players who had to retire whether it be concussion issues or the attritional damage it does to the body, it is important these guys speak out and say things. it is also important for the guys there, the pundits who have been around for 10 or 15 years to listen. Because the level of punishment a current player is taking is not like it was.

It is much worse than it ever was.

You can listen to the full interview, as well as the Six Nations team of the opening weekend and Ireland versus Scotland preview, here or on all good podcast platforms.

SEE ALSO: Farrell's Revealing Ref Conversation And How England Took Away Ireland's Crucial Weapon

Maurice Brosnan

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