Rugby Football Union Praised by World XV Coach Steve Hansen for Raising Pride Flag Above Twickenham Stadium
In an impressive move of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced its decision to raise the rainbow flag above Twickenham stadium on Sunday, just before Eddie Jones’ Barbarians face off against Steve Hansen’s World XV team.
The RFU’s actions come as a positive consequence of coach Steve Hansen’s controversial selection of Israel Folau against the Barbarians. Prior to this match-up, Folau was sacked from his position in Rugby Australia after making anti-gay social media posts that caused outrage amongst members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Hansen believes that if it were not for Folau being selected for this game, then the rainbow flag would not have been raised at Twickenham. He applauds the RFU for taking this stance and hopes that it will increase awareness of why such symbols are necessary to support people who are judged and treated poorly because of who they are.
Hansen expressed his opinion on the matter, stating: “They deserve to be loved and cared for as much as anybody else. If we all did that, it’d be a happy place.”
While Folau’s selection may upset some members of the community, Hansen believes he should still be involved in rugby because he is an excellent player first and foremost. Hansen also emphasizes that while they do not agree with Folau’s views or beliefs, his job is to pick the best team possible despite any controversy surrounding them.
Folau was embroiled in a long-standing dispute after breaching Rugby Australia’s code of conduct over controversial online posts before being sacked from his position in May 2019. Since then, he has played rugby league for Catalans Dragons and club rugby union in Japan while switching international allegiances to Tonga where he aims to play at this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Want to learn more about Rugby Union? Visit our special section dedicated to the sport.