Rugby fans can often be very dismissive of football, arguing that players are over paid, over hyped and above all else, soft.
Indeed, diving hasn’t so much crept into the football, but become part of the game. It isn’t uncommon to hear commentators argue that players had “earned the right to go down” after minimal contact.
This has made the job of referees very difficult, as attacking players often position their trailing leg or foot so as to make contact with unfortunate defenders who can’t move out of the way fast enough.
Modern players also seem to believe any type of contact is worthy of going down in the box so as to attain a penalty for their side. Saturday’s game between Arsenal and Stoke City was no different.
Midway through the first half, Stoke’s Joe Allen more or less ran into Granit Xhaka’s elbow, threw himself onto the ground and earned his side a penalty.
Stoke’s penalty was basically Allen running into Xhaka pic.twitter.com/kZM4T8juom
— abdi (@abdirahmanali96) December 10, 2016
The incident caused a great deal controversy, and left the Arsenal players in a rage. Although the Gunners are no angels in this regard either, it once more brought diving to the fore.
Enter Nigel Owens.
After the game, John Hartson sought out opinion of the referee in an attempt to offer a solution to the diving epidemic.
As per usual, Owens offered a straight forward and honest appraisal and called on retrospective action to be taken against players found guilty of diving.
— BBC 606 (@bbc606) December 10, 2016
This week on the Oval Office Podcast, we speak with Section Paloise number eight Paddy Butler, and hold an in depth conversation with Geraint Powell about what the future holds for regional rugby in Wales.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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