At a time when the behaviour of footballers and their managers is coming under ever increasing scrutiny, it’s becoming clear they could learn a lot from their rugby counterparts.
With the eyes of the nation and Europe currently firmly focused on rugby’s Six Nations tournament, it’s becoming obvious the standards of behaviour and respect expected from the players way exceeds what we are currently seeing on the football field.
One man who knows the members of Scotland’s rugby squad better than most is team doctor James Robson.
In an exclusive interview with the Tele, James, 59, who was a GP in Dundee for 13 years and who still lives in the city, gave his views on the mutual respect between players and officials in the world of rugby.
James said: “There’s little doubt there’s a massive amount of respect between players and officials.
“It’s something that’s very important in rugby. Everyone in rugby loves the game and players and officials have considerable mutual respect.
“Even if a player disagreed with a ref’s decision, he would never voice that on the pitch.
“He would accept the decision and get on with the game.”
James also spoke candidly about the way rugby players would never feign injury — an accusation that has been levelled on regular occasions at top league footballers.
“Players don’t feign injury. Sometimes it’s actually difficult trying to convince a player he really shouldn’t be playing if it is against his better health in the long run.
“We all end up feeling sorry for anyone who is sidelined because of injury.
“The best example in the Six Nations, is Greig Laidlaw. Greig is a true leader both on and off the pitch and it’s gutting he’s out but the boys have stepped up marvellously to cope.”
James also offered his opinion on the benefits of the team doctor being able to treat players on the pitch while the match is still going ahead.
He continued: “This works well for us.
“We are in the unique position that we can run on to the pitch while the game continues if the player’s welfare is at stake, as long as we don’t get in the way.
“We need to make a rapid assessment and, in 99% of cases, the players continue but, if the game needs stopped for the removal of a seriously-injured player, it will be by the ref.
“We’re lucky that in rugby there are quite a few natural stops anyway, which allows us more time for pitch assessments and treatments than we might otherwise have.”
James, is passionate about his sport and is a former player himself with Edinburgh Wanderers.
He’s delighted more and more youngsters are following and playing the game.
But he admits there is only one thing on his mid this week — Saturday’s Calcutta Cup match against England at Twickenham.
It’s a game he’s eagerly looking forward to and feels there is room for optimism ahead of the big clash.
James said: “The squad are buzzing and I think this is the first time as team doctor I can honestly say I really believe we can go to England and win.”