England got mad and coach Eddie Jones said that what Italy was doing was “not rugby.”

“If you paid for a ticket you should ask for your money back,” he said, eyes glinting, mouth spitting fire. “You haven’t seen a game of rugby.

“If that’s rugby then I’m going to retire. That’s not rugby. You’re looking to pass and all you can see is one of their players.

“I’m not critical of our side a bit because we didn’t play rugby. We practised for a game of rugby all week and we didn’t get it.”


Former England international Matt Dawson also ripped the Italians.

Unconventional as Italy’s tactics were, they were not illegal and Italy’s coach Conor O’Shea defended their no-ruck strategy:

“We’ve looked at other games and we looked at what had been done in the past, and we decided we were going to go for broke to get the ball back and win.”


“It wasn’t fair criticism. We were there to try and win a game of rugby, and we’re the underdogs in all our games. We’ve decided now enough is enough and we’re not going to lie down,” the Irishman added.

“We had to be different and we have to do things differently. And we did nothing wrong, that’s the bottom line.”


Legal or not, World Rugby is now under pressure to change the rules and close the loophole that allowed Italy to almost pull off the upset. An England player called out World Rugby and urged them to shut Italy’s clever exploitation of the rules down, warning that “it is going to kill the game quickly.” That foreboding warning seems like it stems from frustration more than anything. After all, Italy are just the most prominent team to exploit this loophole, not the first. If teams start using it en masse and it becomes a problem, then World Rugby might need to intervene. But for now, Italy can keep up their dumb subterfuge.