Rugby has survived for well over 100 years and become one of the World’s greatest sports as much by the spirit it creates as by the skill with which it is played. Nowadays many people sneer at the phrase “spirit of the game” and words like “ethics”, but Rugby has demonstrated that these qualities are not entirely lost. It is our responsibility, those of us who play and coach the game, to preserve and enrich it. We must ensure by our actions, both on and off the field, that we do nothing to discredit the game, our club or ourselves.
One of the features of Rugby is that it is a game of physical contact and it is inevitable that hard knocks will be given and taken. It is vital that these take place within the context of the game. Any player taking part in this kind of physical contest knows that there is an injury risk even though the ethics and the laws may be strictly observed. The player should never be exposed to risks which are outside both ethics and law.
In essence we must respect the game and those who take part in it. We must especially respect the authority of the referee. Their judgement and decision must be final, accepted without hesitation and certainly without question.
Presumably we play the game because we enjoy it, that is probably the best reason. But let us remember that there is no disgrace in wanting to be successful; there is no dishonour in wanting to win. All players should pursue excellence, and each according to their ability, will achieve varying degrees of success. We cannot all play as members of Team Ontario, or Team Canada but we can all display high standards of behaviour and sportsmanship. Defeat must be accepted with good grace and victory with humility.
The Laws of Rugby Union state that the Object of the Game is that two teams “observing fair play according to the Laws and a sporting spirit, should by carrying, passing and kicking the ball, score as many points as possible, the team scoring the greater number of points to be the winner of the match.”
The above was taken in positive spirit from ‘Skilful Rugby by Ray Williams – former secretary of the Welsh Rugby Union’