Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ulster Rugby and the poppyless shirt

by Kristian Ross

Kristian Ross column

With another weekend in the Guinness PRO12 over, Ulster Rugby should have been celebrating a win over the Newport Gwent Dragons yesterday, but instead they were cast into the limelight after numerous complaints on social media about the club failing to sport a poppy on their jersey.

Many took to the Ulster Rugby Supporters Club page, venting their anger and disappointment with some going as far to say they won’t be supporting the team from know on. Perhaps those have have complained should take a look at the fact that the symbol of remembrance that was so bravely fought for in WWI and WWII gave people the choice to express their rights and freedom.

Ridiculously, it seems only that Ulster have been singled out due to the history of the province and whilst this remains and article about rugby, somehow, there seems to be a few Northern Irish politicians who seem to be using this for their own party’s agenda.

Ulster Rugby more than most pay homage to the the fallen of both World Wars with the Memorial End a clear indication of Ulster’s position on remembrance. You only have to take a look at the arch at Ravenhill to realise those who were lost in conflict are so highly revered. Aside from the Newport Gwent Dragons and the Cardiff Blues, no other PRO12 side wore a poppy on their shirt this weekend and neither did Wasps nor Gloucester of the English Premiership, yet somehow this has gone unnoticed from others.

An impeccable minute’s silence at Rodney Parade from both sets of fans Sunday clearly reiterated the position of Ulster Rugby and of the game itself. This ridiculous media hoo-ha on poppy fascism must end as it has led to the club having to release a statement. Perhaps rather than lambast a side for not wearing a poppy that has on countless occasions over the years has paid respect to lost soldiers, we should be grateful that we didn’t have to endure a broken minute’s silence at Celtic Park in yesterday’s Scottish Premiership football match.
Ulster chief executive Shane Logan will lay the wreath at the Memorial Arch tomorrow in the annual remembrance service, and I for one wish both him and the club will after an incident that truly has been stupidly blown out of proportion.


@Kristian7Ross - 21, Geordie, part time journalist and Irish Rugby fan.


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Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019