‘Rugby players probably celebrate slightly differently’ - but coaches to clamp down on hugging celebrations

It was suggested yesterday by English Premier League chief executive Richard Masters that footballers should practise celebrating goals safely in training to “get the hang of it”.

Edinburgh players celebrate Magnus Bradbury's try against Glasgow Warriors.

Players have faced criticism for hugging and kissing, in breach of coronavirus protocols.

Politicians, never slow to criticise the sport, have lined up to have a pop. Julian Knight, the Conservative MP who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, called some footballers’ antics “brainless”, while another committee member, Labour MP Clive Efford, described them as an “insult to the NHS”.

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Celebrations in rugby tend to be a little more understated, but the coaches of both Glasgow and Edinburgh are both mindful of the need for restraint ahead of the inter-city 1872 Cup clash at Scotstoun on Saturday night.

“I definitely wouldn’t encourage them to hug and kiss each other!” said Danny Wilson, the Glasgow coach. “Rugby players probably celebrate slightly differently [from footballers]. But it’s about common sense again. You try to limit and mitigate things.

“But the problem is if you score from a driving lineout then everyone is in there on top of each other when you score the try. And then you’re meant to stand up and keep your distance from each other! So it’s obviously a difficult circumstance and a very different sport.

“But we’ll try to mitigate the best we can. We’ll make sure you have to be actually in the driving lineout to be in the celebrations. We’ll give that kind of advice as an example. It’s difficult as it’s such a full-contact sport.”

His Edinburgh counterpart, Richard Cockerill, also pointed to the close contact nature of many aspect of rugby.

“Our lads are very aware of it,” he said. “We try to be as strict as we can so if there are pinch moments in the match where there are tries or big moments to be celebrated the boys know they need to stay away from it.

“It’s no big deal because as you know in rugby you spend most of the time cuddling and being in close contact to each other in scrums, tackles, mauls or whatever. So it doesn’t apply to us because of the nature of the game. You’re always going to have close contacts in rugby whereas football is a little different”.

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