Under new rules announced by the IRB, specially trained medical staff will be required for all future rugby matches to guarantee the replacement process does not allow a repeat of Bloodgate.
To ensure each game is conducted in the proper Corinthian spirit, an independent team of vampire, butcher and coroner will be appointed to support the referee and his two linesman (and in the case of Nigel Owens – his collection of Right Said Fred LPs).
The new medical troupe will consult on any player wishing to leave the field: tasting their blood for authenticity, determining the integrity of muscle injury using a tenderising hammer, and – if necessary – sanctioning the embalming process. Players will not be allowed to leave the field unless they meet strict medical criteria, or alternatively agree to undertake a ‘dare’ proscribed by the opposing head coach.
IRB guideline 77, subsection E, paragraph 2, states:
“A ‘dare’ can be any jape or tomfoolery (note Welsh players may be more familiar with the term ‘playing silly buggers’) which seeks to denigrate the personal emotional and physical wellbeing of the player in question. Examples might include: having one’s own flatulent gases ignited by a drunken spectator, eating a prop forward’s nasal mucus, or being naked for a prolonged period of time. In the sport of Australian Rules Football, where the rule has been in force for many years, extreme cases necessitate the watching of ‘Neighbours’.”
Dean Richards was unavailable for comment. In fact he sounded really, really angry when we rang him up.