Six Nations launch investigation into Murrayfield ‘bottlegate’ after England team member struck

Jack de Menezes
The Independent

The Six Nations have launched an investigation into how an England backroom staff member was struck on the head by a plastic beer bottle upon the team’s arrival at Murrayfield at the weekend.

The Rugby Football Union’s head of elite performance, Neil Craig, was hit on the head as he made his way off the team bus, though there has not been any evidence come to light over whether the empty beer bottle was thrown at the visiting team or caught up in the strong winds that hit Edinburgh on Saturday evening.

The Scottish Rugby Union moved to apologise to the England management after learning of the incident, and a Six Nations spokesman confirmed: “We are discussing this with the unions.”

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The SRU did stress though that there was no evidence available to reveal if the bottle was thrown by a fan of simply caught up in the wind, with a video showing it landing on top of the England team bus before being blown in Craig’s direction.

Craig was unhurt in the incident and England head coach Eddie Jones played down the prospect of an official complaint, though the Australian did criticise the home fans in the belief that they were deliberately targeted. Jones was also unhappy with the persistent booing of Owen Farrell as whenever he kicked at goal, with fans growing increasingly frustrated with the length of time the fly-half was legally taking to execute his attempts.

“Rugby has had – or did have – a culture of being respectful and respect for the kicker,” Jones said.

A number of Scotland supporters were also seen making obscene gestures towards the England team bus upon its arrival, which prompted Jones to issue an angry response after the 13-6 victory.

“We weren't expecting beer bottles to be thrown, that's a new trick,” Jones said after the Six Nations encounter that was played out in the horrific conditions brought by Storm Ciara. "It’s a pretty good achievement, throwing beer bottles, you've got to be brave to throw a beer bottle.

“Neil has a hard head, I know that and there's not much inside it. He will be alright.”

Asked if he would make a formal complaint, Jones added: "It's not going to do anything is it. Everybody knows about it, so someone can do something about it. It's not good behaviour, is it."

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