Rugby has offered up yet another reason why it is one of the classiest sports around, when the colour of a jersey is transcended by one player’s concern for another.
Too often are the headlines focused on moments of lost tempers and ill-discipline. This is also not a phenomenon unique to rugby as pretty much every team sport sees incidents of the famous red mist from time to time.
This past weekend however, headlines of the opposite nature were front and centre when Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs took on Wasps on Sunday.
In the 24th minute of the game, Wasps big No.8 Nathan Hughes took the ball into contact against Chiefs’ Sam Simmonds.
In real-time the tackle appeared routine, with the ball recycled and play continuing. However, it quickly became evident that something was wrong when both No.8’s remained behind on the ground, with Hughes kneeling above Simmonds cradling his head.
It was only following the halting of play, the arrival of medics and the benefit of replays that showed the collision between the England international and Simmonds resulted in the latter receiving a meaty thigh to the head, rendering him semi-conscious, at best.
This is why we love rugby!
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) September 25, 2017
The enduring image of Hughes tending to his opposite number is the kind of sportsmanship that proves once more that the bruising sport of rugby contains a deep-seeded honour and camaraderie that you would be hard-pushed to find in any other team sport.
Following the game, Simmonds and Hughes shared a joke and paid respect to each other.
Bit of tackle technique needed for me this week I think 👀🙄 thanks for all the messages of support & thanks to the big man @NateWJHughes 👍🏼
— Sam Simmonds (@samsimmonds_) September 24, 2017
Rugby is a contact sport where knocks, bumps and injury is but a tackle away. With the risk shared equally for all 30 players on the field, it is good to know that everyone has everyone’s back, regardless of the colours on they wear on their back.