Harlequins, Leicester, Wasps to take a knee

All 12 Premiership clubs will show support

Last Updated: 12/08/20 2:59pm

Harlequins will be one of three teams who will take a knee when the Gallagher Premiership returns this weekend
Harlequins will be one of three teams who will take a knee when the Gallagher Premiership returns this weekend

Harlequins, Leicester and Wasps will all take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement when the Gallagher Premiership returns this weekend.

All 12 top-flight clubs will show solidarity in different ways and Premiership Rugby has committed itself to making the sport more diverse, welcoming and inclusive while backing progressive change.

A statement from the league said: “We are committed to build on our work through initiatives like Project Rugby to support black communities, as well as plans to further enhance work in LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality and to improve the access to our sport for those from low socio-economic groups and those with disabilities.

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Chris Robshaw had already confirmed Harlequins would show its support for the Black Lives Matter movement
Chris Robshaw had already confirmed Harlequins would show its support for the Black Lives Matter movement

“For the start of each game in the first round of Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Premiership Rugby is proud to support our clubs and players as they show respect for black lives and racial equality.

“Time will be given before games to honour equality, under the banner of Rugby Against Racism.”

In support of this, a working group comprising black players from across the league, plus former Harlequins back Ugo Monye and James Bailey, will seek to make rugby more diverse in all areas.

They said: “Together, we the players stand united in the fight against racism, and we are proud to support the positive message that Black Lives Matter.

“We are not endorsing a political ideology. We are uniting as players to combat racial discrimination, in our sport and in society.”

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Harlequins and England player Shaunagh Brown says those who claim not to see colour prevent her from being herself
Harlequins and England player Shaunagh Brown says those who claim not to see colour prevent her from being herself

Elsewhere around the league, Bath will show their commitment to racial equality at the weekend, forming a huddle in unity shortly before kick-off.

Bristol have confirmed they will line up in a heart-shaped formation before kick-off for each of their remaining fixtures.

Exeter are intending to show their full support for Rugby Against Racism, while Gloucester and Worcester are planning similar gestures.

London Irish, Northampton and Sale will both sport ‘Rugby against Racism’ t-shirts while Saracens will wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ ones.

In addition, Premiership Rugby has committed itself to improve black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation, including among coaches and referees.

All Premier League football games featured both sets of players and officials 'taking a knee' when it restarted in June
All Premier League football games featured both sets of players and officials ‘taking a knee’ when it restarted in June

It will also work with the Sporting Equals Leaderboard programme to ensure there are candidates that are truly reflective of society.

It will continue Project Rugby – which is run in partnership with England Rugby and Gallagher – to increase access to the sport for young people from a BAME background.

In the last four years, 13,500 young people from BAME backgrounds have been introduced to the sport through the above scheme.

Premiership Rugby chief executive Darren Childs said: “Improving inclusion is vital for the progress and popularity of our sport and there is an urgent need for change.

“I wholeheartedly support the measures set out in our Rugby Against Racism programme, and will be making sure these measures underpin Premiership Rugby’s strategy to make a tangible positive difference in our sport and society.”

Source : Sky Sports