Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has revealed his players will not take the knee this weekend against Wales in the Six Nations.
The national side faced a backlash last weekend after only four members of Townsend’s squad opted to kneel before their famous win over England at Twickenham.
Murrayfield bosses released a statement on the issue after the match, insisting Scottish Rugby was united against racism, and players this weekend are expected to – rather than take the knee – stand in a ‘moment of reflection’.
“We know what’s happening this weekend,” Townsend said. “I believe both teams are going to stand and recognise rugby’s stand against racism and discrimination like we’ve done in all previous games. So unless that changes, that’s what we’ll do.”
Flanker Jamie Ritchie also gave his reasoning for not taking the knee last weekend before the 11-6 victory, explaining: “It’s all been a bit of a surprise to be honest. We weren’t told before the game ‘we would like you to kneel’ or ‘we wouldn’t like you to kneel’. It was down to personal choice.
“I don’t think anyone who didn’t kneel was disagreeing with anything that was put forward. It’s 100 per cent right that rugby is acknowledging the anti-racism movement. I completely agree with that.
“I think guys standing in quiet reflection of that is in full support of it.
“Whether boys kneeled or didn’t kneel was nothing we discussed before the game, it was completely down to personal preference. Anyone who kneeled I would back 100 per cent and anyone who stood I would do the same.
“For me personally it was the first game I had been involved in when anyone took the knee. I was not surprised, I knew guys in the Premiership had been doing it, but it was down to personal preference at the time. I took that time to reflect and think about the message.
“You can’t please everyone, it’s such a polarising argument, whether to kneel or not. Social media can be a pretty vile place at times and guys know how to deal with it.
“It’s not stung, it has certainly not taken away from how special that day was for everyone involved. It’s just one of the things that comes with being in the limelight and playing pro sport.”
One of the Scotland players who did kneel, Ali Price, also felt too much was made of the issue.
The Glasgow scrum-half said: “We were told beforehand that there would be a round of applause for Sir Tom and everyone who has sadly passed away due to Covid, followed by a moment of reflection around racism in sport and in general. And then it’s very much individual.
“I have never taken a knee in any of the games I have been involved in before. It was never part of any of the build-up to PRO14 games. In the autumn we never did it.
“On the day I felt it was right to take a knee. At the same time, I could also have stood like many of the other players did and just had that moment of reflection. There’s different ways to do that.
“There’s too much to read into that, everyone was reflective and respectful.”
Scotland pulled off a stunning shock at Twickenham as they ended a 38-year wait for a win on away soil in a Calcutta Cup clash last weekend.