An unforgiveable rules breach right at the start of last night’s rugby union Test match against France in Brisbane has stripped the Wallabies of a remarkably gutzy win and cost the team the Trophée des Bicentenaires.
The Australian Rugby Union Board of Control brought down the harsh ruling while the Wallabies were still on the field at Suncorp Stadium celebrating their come-from-behind 33-30 victory over the Les Bleues, despite being reduced to only 14 men for almost the entire game.
And the Wallabies’ blunder from the very beginning?
They started the game with only six players with normal English-sounding names: James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachlan Swinton, Michael Hooper, Tate McDermott and Tom Banks.
Under ARU rules forced on the code by Parliament earlier this year, when One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson successfully moved a motion to that effect, the starting lineup of any Wallabies side must contain a majority of players with “surnames that sound normal”.
The fiery redheaded Queenslander got the rule though on the back of a fierce #anglosaxonnamesmatter campaign.
An attempt by Senator Hanson for the rule to also cover Australian Rugby League was thwarted by other Senators who feared it would mean the end of the code in Australia.
Last night’s stripping of the Wallabies’ gutzy win and the loss of the Trophée des Bicentenaires for the series win is doubly tragic because there were four Wallabies on the reserves bench with normal sounding surnames and if just two of those had been swung over to the starting lineup, none of this would have happened.