England And Scotland Players Divided Over Taking The Knee Before Six Nations Clash
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England and Scotland players lined up before their Six Nations game in support of the Rugby Against Racism campaign - but there was division in both sides over taking a knee.
The gesture has become attached to the Black Lives Matter movement and is regularly seen before kick-off in Premier League football matches. However six of the England side chose to stand before kick-off, while the rest of the team took a knee.
For Scotland, four players took the knee while the rest remained standing.
The game ended in a deserved 11-6 win for Scotland, their first victory at Twickenham since 1983.
However before the game there appeared to be a lack of a unified decision over whether players would kneel or stand to show their support of Rugby Against Racism.
England's Billy Vunipola was one of the players who chose not to kneel, while players either side of him did. The Australian-born No 8 of Tongan descent was one of three England players who did not take a knee before England's 40-0 win against Georgia in November.
A number of England and Scotland players didn't take the knee before the Six Nations game at Twickenham. Not the best of looks that.- Nick Metcalfe (@Nick_Metcalfe) February 6, 2021
As reported by the Mail Online, Vunipola explained to The Good, The Bad And The Rugby Podcast at the time: "A similar situation happened with the Black Lives Matter movement last week when we were asked if we want to take a knee or not.
"What I saw in terms of that movement was not aligned with what I believe in. They were burning churches and Bibles. I can't support that.
"Even though I am a person of colour, I'm still more a person of, I guess, Jesus."
14 of the 30 starting players in England v Scotland refuse to take the knee in an act of solidarity against racism in society. Feels particularly poignant after another week of endless, disgusting racist abuse against footballers (and others) was highlighted. Again and again. pic.twitter.com/pmLxgwFqCB- Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) February 6, 2021
Alongside Vunipola, Ben Earl, Harry Williams, Jonny Hill, Courtney Lawes and Luke Cowan Dickie also remained standing.
Meanwhile Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs, Kyle Sinclair, Jonny May, George Ford, Elliott Daley, Mark Wilson, Willie Heinz, Tom Curry, Jamie George, Beno Obano, Maro Itoje and Anthony Watson were among the England stars who kneeled.
Cameron Redpath was one of the four Scotland players to take the knee, while the rest of the team chose to stand.
All imagery: PA Images