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A fine phrase that sums up what rugby has lost

The Guardian logo The Guardian 07/06/2021 Letters
a group of baseball players playing a football game: Photograph: Colorsport/Rex/Shutterstock © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Colorsport/Rex/Shutterstock

I would like to thank Richard Williams for his obituary of the great John Dawes (11 May). I have struggled for the last 20 years to explain why rugby union is no longer a game that thrills me as it did in the 1970s and 1980s. I have tied myself up in knots to define what is lacking in the modern game. Then, Williams sums it up in a phrase of efficient elegance worthy of Dawes: “a time when rugby was a game of evasion rather than collision”.

John Dawes holding a football ball on a field playing baseball: John Dawes, whose obituary by Richard Williams – and its reference to ‘a time when rugby was a game of evasion rather than collision’ – is praised by Colin Mann. © Photograph: Colorsport/Rex/Shutterstock John Dawes, whose obituary by Richard Williams – and its reference to ‘a time when rugby was a game of evasion rather than collision’ – is praised by Colin Mann.

Colin Mann

Barrhead, East Renfrewshire

• 0.7% of GDP going to aid seems minimal to me (John Major joins push to overturn cut to UK overseas aid budget, 4 June). What proportion of the wealth that built “Great Britain” came from the trade in enslaved Africans? From slave-worked plantations in the colonies? From mills using slave-grown cotton? From forbidding manufacturing in the colonies?

Marika Sherwood

Oare, Kent

• Nauseating hypocrisy. Ollie Robinson is perhaps correctly punished for bad behaviour as a teenager (England’s Ollie Robinson suspended from international game for tweets, 7 June) while the prime minister, who has never shown any genuine remorse for his appalling racist and misogynist rants, is allowed to carry on running the country.

Tom Penny

London

• Hyperbollocks (Letters, 1 June)? How about a new word to describe Boris Johnson when interviewed: “Testiculating – waving your arms about when talking bollocks.”

Mick McKeown

Windermere, Cumbria

• Our dystopia veers to cacotopia.

Dr Tony Abramson

Leeds

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