The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Returning internationals accuse clubs of ‘making up’ results in their absence

RFU have tough call to make over 'fictional' fixtures

Posted December, 2004

A fierce quarrel has broken out in several Zurich Premiership clubs in a new twist in the ongoing club versus country row. With the Premiership continuing during the autumn internationals, many national players have returned to find themselves fighting to get their club jersey back. Several returning stars, most notably at Leicester where the club took eleven of the fifteen points available during the autumn tests, accused their club mates of ‘making everything up’.

It is feared that if the row is not resolved, internationals and domestic fixtures will not be played at the same time in the future - seriously affecting cash flow for clubs. Major stars, including Graham Rowntree, Geordan Murphy and Martin Corry have asked the RFU to investigate and clarify the situation.

As well as the rows over the legitimacy of the results, several players at Leicester have complained that their favourite dressing rooms spots have been claimed from them, the best training bibs have been taken by younger players and that nobody watered the plants in the video analysis room.

One international at Leicester, worried about his place in the starting fifteen, has demanded his teammates supply video evidence that the games took place and had the results they claim. “I don’t care if the match programme says they beat Saracens 21-9, I wasn’t there and need to see it,” fumed the star. When one of the club players he questioned said their tape of the Saracens game was at home and not readily available, the star ran his fingers down his chin (a sign in the UK used by children to indicate the listener does not believe the speaker). The player was eventually given a copy of the Saracen match video but then claimed he only had a DVD and therefore couldn’t watch it. Despite then being shown a copy of the match in the clubhouse, the star claimed that it was trickery similar to Sky One’s Dream Team programme- in which a fictional soccer team is superimposed into games against real football clubs. “I’m not stupid, you know,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Harlequins could be the club most likely to suffer if it is proved that the fixtures never actually took place. Having climbed off the foot of the table in the past month, a reversal of the results could be catastrophic for the team.

The RFU have promised to investigate fully and have asked anyone who can prove they witnessed any of the alleged games to contact them immediately.