Sporting Life

Unwritten laws are crucial, colourful and controversial

In October last year, in a match that doesn't matter occurred a moment that does. An Irish rugby international, Simon Zebo, while playing for his French club, taunted a younger rival, Michael Lowry, by pointing at him as he crossed the try line. Zebo had broken no rule, but he'd left a small tear in the fabric of respect.

Immediately referee Nigel Owens spoke to Zebo and suggested he apologise. Immediately the commentators, without getting hysterical, said he was out of line. Immediately after the match Zebo expressed remorse to Lowry, gave him his jersey and gracefully tweeted:

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2019, with the headline 'Unwritten laws are crucial, colourful and controversial'. Subscribe