The idea of female athletes posing nude for a fund raising calendar is nothing new. In fact, it’s old hat by now . . . assuming anyone was wearing hats. This time though, we have some young female rugby players (yes, the ladies play rugby) from New Zealand’s Old Boys University (classy name, right?) who wanted to draw more attention to their sport. The most interesting part of the story appears to be how they had the pictures taken. No, not in some cold locked studio or inside the confines of a guarded stadium. No, it appears that the members of the OBU team went to a popular local cricket club, stripped off their “kits” and started taking pictures . . . and drawing a crowd of interested onlookers who suddenly found women’s rugby interesting. Can you imagine?
When the Old Boys University women’s rugby team stripped for a nude calendar shoot at Wellington’s Basin Reserve on a Sunday morning, they drew their biggest crowd of the year. Those venturing through the famous cricket ground were stopped in their tracks by a pack of naked flesh, as the team crouched, paused and engaged in a risque photo shoot.
With All Blacks Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu and Alama Ieremia among the sponsors, the calendar was intended to attract women to play rugby, by highlighting its feminine side, Miss March Bekki Abernethy said. She said her side struggles to attract numbers every season, as female rugby players were often branded as masculine and unfeminine, which discouraged many women from taking it up.
“Our calendar rails against this myth,” Abernethy said. “I’m blonde, I’m not exactly a big rugby player. I’m a girl doing her thing, we’re all normal girls, that’s what we were trying to portray.”
Athletes get suspended for lots of different reasons. And we’ve seen them all.
We’ll we thought we’d seen them all, until this story came our way about a couple of young players on the Sydney Roosters team in the Australian National Rugby League. The pair, Sam Brunton and Anthony Gelling, will apparently not play in the club’s Toyota Cup finals campaign because they lost control of their bowels. In a hotel room and NOT in the bathroom. A team executive says the incident started as a “prank” (was the prank called “Let’s piss off the hotel maid?”) but that the behavior was not acceptable.
Really? The strangest part is that apparently alcohol had nothing to do with it. Just sober, Australian rugby players having a bit of fun with the hotel staff. Maybe as punishment they should let the maids crap in the players’ lockers and let these guys clean it up?
The details of the pair’s rampage emerged on Friday, a year after former club coach Brad Fittler fined himself $10,000 for a drunken incident at the same Townsville hotel. Brunton and Gelling’s behaviour also mirrors representative forward Nate Myles similar acts in 2009 which resulted in a six-match suspension and $50,000 fine.
A Holiday Inn employee told the Townsville Bulletin the pair’s rooms had been trashed and left in a “feral” state. “They defecated on the floor next to the toilet in one of the rooms and they defecated on the white tables in more than one of the rooms,” she said.
“It was disgusting, absolutely disgusting. These are players who are held in high regard by the community and who our children respect. “No one gets paid enough to clean up that kind of mess.” The Bulletin reported hotel management took photos of the damaged rooms and brought it to the attention of Roosters officials.
There’s all sorts of stupid involved in this story.
A well known UK rugby referee was reportedly leaving a wedding reception early Sunday morning and got into an argument with a woman in her 50s at a line waiting for cabs. That woman’s 87-year-old mother then tried to step in and break things up (or smooth them over) and the stocky ref, Steve Ganson, allegedly threw a punch at granny.
When the dust had settled, Ganson had been arrested and granny was in the hospital with broken pelvis, broken and dislocated shoulder and various cuts and bruises.
The Super League official was later forced to withdraw as a match’s video referee because he was still in police custody. Ganson, 40, was being quizzed over the alleged drunken assault on frail Florence Shields and her daughter Linda, 54, during a hotel wedding reception around 12.30am yesterday. Last night, victim Linda said she was “disgusted” at his conduct.
She said: “He is a 40-year-old man who swung his fist at my mother, who is 87, 8st and just over 5ft tall. What can you say about a man who does that? “He was drunk, very aggressive and just looking for a fight. I do not believe he should be allowed to referee another game.”
As she spoke, Florence was being treated at Whiston Hospital in St Helens, Merseyside, with a broken pelvis, broken and dislocated shoulder and extensive bruising. Linda, from St Helens, told how trouble flared outside the Holiday Inn in Haydock Park where she had been attending the wedding reception of her nephew Andy Shields. Ganson was with another woman guest who had been asked to leave, following a row.
As Linda tried to act as a peacemaker in the taxi queue, she claims that Ganson turned on her. She said: “He pushed me to the floor and when my mother tried to speak he swung his fist at her.”
Some are calling it a “. . . blatant exploitation of women . . .” but it looks like an Irish crisp (potato chip) firm has found a way to make rugby interesting . . . at least in print form. Instead of a burly guy pitching the snack food, we see scantily young ladies who really don’t look like they are playing rugby . . . at least not in any form we’re aware of. Then again we’re not complaining about their attempt to drum up interest in the league or their product.
Irish rugby chiefs called in their lawyers last night over a new ad campaign featuring scantily-clad female players. Sports officials slammed the provocative Hunky Dorys crisps billboards – with the tagline Proud Sponsors of Irish Rugby – as tasteless and called on the company to scrap them straight away. But the snack firm, which sponsors All-Ireland League Division 3 side Navan, insisted it had a right to print the claim alongside a revealing shot of a model clutching a rugby ball and the phrase Are You Staring at My Crisps?
The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said the sponsorship line wrongly implied the company was a major donor to the game. “This advertising campaign is in very bad taste and one which the IRFU would not want to be associated with in any way,” spokesman Padraig Power said.
“Its blatant exploitation of women is tasteless and base, and quite simply unacceptable.