CHRIS KIRWAN SAYS: Crabby Rowntree courts ridicule
9:10am Thursday 21st March 2013 in Sport
AS a young batsman I was always taught not to show any signs of discomfort when struck by a fast bowler.
Even when in agony, you must resist the desire to fling your bat down and clutch your ribs, elbow, or just below the thigh guard.
It’s advice that England and Graham Rowntree would be wise to heed following Wales’ romp to the Six Nations title.
You would have been hard-pressed to make accusations of English arrogance stick in the immediate aftermath of the game.
Captain Chris Robshaw and lock Geoff Parling dealt with the media terrifically, combining frustration at their own display with giving credit to their opponents.
It was clear that inside they were burning with pain but they didn’t let it show.
But the story changed on Tuesday with Rowntree stating he was “annoyed” by the way referee Steve Walsh handled the scrum and the breakdown.
The forwards coach said he would be seeking clarification from the International Rugby Board over the two issues.
Let’s be clear, there is nothing wrong with asking the IRB for clarification on certain issues if they feel they need addressing.
Nor, I’d imagine, would any referee mind getting feedback on his performance.
But to express those concerns to the media leaves England open for ridicule, making them look petty and in denial after a 27-point hammering.
Rowntree was part of one of the finest packs that club rugby has seen, a Leicester front eight that led to rivals using the nickname of Cheetahs rather Tigers.
He should think back to how they reacted in the Welford Road changing room when the opposition complained about Martin Johnson, Neil Back, John Wells, Darren Garforth and Richard Cockerill bending the rules.
With disdain, Graham, with disdain.