10 of the Biggest scandals in rugby history - Ruck

10 of the Biggest scandals in rugby history

Rugby Union has had its fair share of controversial moments down the years.

From on-field misdemeanours to scandals involving disputes and even death, several incidents have divided opinion and filled thousands of column inches.

The most recent saw Rob Howley banned from rugby for 18 months for betting on matches, including Wales games.

Here we look at the 10 of the other biggest controversies to have rocked the sport.


It was a military-style “boot camp” organized as a “team building” exercise for the South African national rugby union team, the Springboks (or Boks), during their preparation for the 2003 Rugby World Cup (RWC). Details of the camp emerged in the South African media, resulting in protest from the upper administrative levels of South African rugby.

  • The team was ordered to climb into a foxhole naked and sing the national anthem while ice-cold water were being poured over their heads. During their time in the hole, recordings of God Save the Queen (used as England‘s national anthem) and the New Zealand All Blacks haka were played at full volume.
  • It was confirmed that firearms were present at the camp, although reports varied as to whether they were ever pointed at anyone.
  • The players were forced to crawl naked across gravel.
  • They also were ordered to spend a night in the bush, during which they were to kill and cook chickens, but not eat them.