Trevor Hogan urges fans to "come out swinging" in defence of rugby

Rugby has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks over the damage done to players as a result of contact in the tackle

Ireland, fans, rugby,

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

After an impressive Irish win, there were a number of talking points as Trevor Hogan and Johne Murphy joined Ger Gilroy on Off the Ball

With a fine display of attacking rugby, Ireland claimed victory over Italy in the Six Nations, finally getting their elusive first win of the campaign. 

Speaking after the result on Off The Ball, Trevor Hogan turned to the topic of rugby itself, and the criticism it has been receiving in the media of late. 

"The beauty of rugby is that it combines the heavy people with the light people, and the fast people, and the slow people, and it combines kicking, and it combines aggression and it combines beautiful skill. It's about trying to just enjoy all of them". 

"There's so much negativity in terms of the concussion stuff and people going on crazy rants on TV about rugby and wanting to ban it.

"I think people need to come out nearly swinging in response, and saying how good the game is and what it can bring, and defend all the brilliant aspects that rugby has without talking crazy things about banning tackling, and banning the game by extension".

With Simon Zebo putting in a particularly strong performance, there looks to be a bit of a selection dilemma for Joe Schmidt for the final game of the tournament, but neither Murphy or Hogan were convinced that the Ireland coach would make a change and bring in the Munster man.

Murphy stated that he was strong on Saturday because "he gets his hands on the ball [at 15] a lot more than on the wing, and he can control the blindside a bit more [...] you kind of have a bit of free licence there, which suits Zebo".

Hogan agreed with that also, stating that "Zebo was class today. It's easy to say it now after that, and what you were up against in Italy, but I'd still say that Rob Kearney is probably in the driving seat. You can probably see why Payne isn't in the running at 15 though, because those two guys are nailing it down at the minute".

Murphy highlighted that the side showed a clinical edge "that was what was lacking in the first couple of games. They got into position and while [Italy] weren't a good side, they still have to do it". 

"It's not very often that you score over 50 points in an international game, so you have to give credit where credit's due".