Rugby Union

Underhill: 'Comfort Issues'.

England rugby players decide against wearing rainbow laces for Gareth Thomas

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Some of the England team won’t be wearing rainbow laces when up against Australia for their last Test of 2018 at Twickenham later today.

The match has been pegged to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity Stonewall UK and the RFU have given England’s match-day squad pairs of the laces to help raise awareness.

The campaign first began in 2013, when the charity invited footballers in England and Scotland to wear the symbolic laces.

But, neither Ben Te’o or Sam Underhill will be using them.

Underhill explained: “I won’t be wearing them personally.

"That is more to do with, and it sounds a bit ridiculous given the size of the issue they are representing, the thickness of the laces.

"They are actually really uncomfortable in my boots and they are really long. I won’t be wearing them, but I fully support the LGBT community. That is something we are all very, very keen that people know.

"On game day, little things can make quite big differences. It is a fantastic cause to support. If it was on a shirt or something like that, I don’t think anyone would say anything.

"It’s just the fact that you get two bits of kit, your boots and your gum shield. Those are the only bits of kit that are yours. Changes in things such as your laces, it sounds stupid but it can make a big difference to a player. You like to keep your routine the same.

England Captain's Run

"So I won’t but it is an incredibly worthy cause, an incredibly important cause, and it is something I am very glad is coming to the fore in terms of support.”

Friday’s co-captains heard England scrum coach Neal Hatley stress that whilst the team were “unbelievably supportive” to the cause, whether the laces were used or not would be down to the individual player.

Wales will be given the opportunity to support the charity and wear the laces during their forthcoming clash with South Africa.

New Zealand have stated they will be wearing the laces in Rome this weekend.

Wales v Ireland - Rugby League Alitalia European Cup

French Rugby Federation vice-president Serge Simon tweeted on Tuesday that France’s team would wear the laces in their meet with Fiji in support of former Wales captain Gareth Thomas, subject to a homophobic attack in Cardiff last week.

Thomas, who played 103 Tests for Wales and the British and Irish Lions before announcing he was gay in 2009, appeared with bruising to the face in a video posted on Twitter earlier this week, citing his sexuality as the motive behind the attack.

“The reaction to the incident with Gareth Thomas in Cardiff earlier this week was phenomenal.” Underhill added.

“The rugby community in general has been hugely positive in its support for the LGBT community.”

Topics:
England Rugby
Wales Rugby
Rugby Union
Sam Underhill
Gareth Thomas

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