The press carried emotive pictures of violence on the pitch of
Wales’ opening match of the Rugby World Cup against Argentina, and cited
moments of violent conduct by several players.
Tournament chief law enforcement officer Tim Gresson promised miscreants
would be severely dealt with so as not to alienate those looking in at
the sport’s global ’shop window’.
Former England player Paul Ackford, writing in the Sunday Telegraph
(3/10/99) admitted that ’the sport has a long way to go to commend
itself to a new audience’.
Indeed, a poll of more than 1,000 people shows only 10 per cent
associate rugby with sportsmanlike conduct. It came behind football and
golf, despite recent incidents in both games which may have affected
Pride in hosting the World Cup seems to have rubbed off on the Welsh,
with over one-third of respondents citing rugby as having a
sportsmanlike image, compared to 20 per cent for football.
Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. Cuttings supplied by the
Broadcast Monitoring Company. Telephone interviews conducted by Audience
More information can be found at www.echoResearch.com.