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OS41 - The hand of Back

Sport: Other Sports Category: Oval Ball
Submitted by: Anonymous
Context:

In the 2002 rugby Heineken Cup final holders English team Leicester were 16-9 up against Irish rivals Munster, with Munster awarded a scrum within a few metres of the Leicester posts.  With the advantage of the put-in this was an excellent opportunity for Munster to score a try and convert the kick to level the match in the dying moments of the game   As the Munster scrum half put the ball in to the scrum the Leicester No.7, Neil Back, cheated by scooping the ball into his team's side of the scrum with his hand, to allow Leicester to regain possesion and clear their lines.

Outcome:

The referee was on the other side of the scrum and didn't see the infringement by Back and Leicester cleared the ball to touch to retain their advantage as the final whistle was blown.  Leicester's coach, Dean Richards, said he saw nothing wrong or illegal about what Back had done!  Then again, this is the same Dean Richards who was suspended for cheating in the Bloodgate Scandal!  Leicester's captain, Martin Johnson, said "In an ideal world, no one would cheat, but that is unrealistic"!

Back himself later said "In a way, I wish I hadn't done it.  I don't like people thinking I'm a cheat. I'm not a cheat. If I thought there was any possible way of redressing it, I would consider it. It has tarnished my reputation. It happened spontaneously. I weighed the options up in a split-second and did what I did."

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