Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Hugo Monnier said that amid the decline in the popularity of rugby in England, it is worth reconsidering attitudes towards some of the “traditions” of the sport, for example, drinking, which can scare off newcomers, including Muslims

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Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Former England international, sportscaster and chairman of the England Rugby Union Diversity and Inclusion Commission Hugo Monnier declared Telegraph that the federation will have to overcome some outdated anti-social traditions in order for rugby to become a sport for all and regain its popularity.

“Rugby, because of its dynamics, is truly a game for people of all shapes and sizes from a physical point of view. <...> But this sport should be the best reflection of society,” Monier said. Rugby has always had a drinking culture. I myself contributed a lot to this during my playing career, and I liked it.

At the same time, he said that if he lived in a densely populated Muslim community in Birmingham, then as a parent he would perceive rugby like this: “They only do what they drink after every match – I don’t want my children to participate in this.”

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Monier admitted that while playing for the London Harlequins, they had a “blatantly cheeky” locker room. His former teammate Simon Miell admitted to being gay only after his retirement in 2007, a fact that made Monnier regret that he had to spend five seasons in such an uncomfortable atmosphere.

Monier played 14 times for England between 2008 and 2012, and twice for the British and Irish Lions in 2009. He spent his entire playing career with the Harlequins (2002-2015), with which he won the first and second divisions, and also took the European Challenge Cup.

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