TWO TOO MANY? Drinking has always been apart of Australian culture, but have certain national sporting teams taken things a little too far? PHOTO: CHRISTOF STACHE
TWO TOO MANY? Drinking has always been apart of Australian culture, but have certain national sporting teams taken things a little too far? PHOTO: CHRISTOF STACHE

Is it time to ditch the drink?

DRINKING has always been a part of Australian sporting culture.

But is it becoming a thing of the past?

With post-match boat races and a beer at the opposition sponsor, rugby union is one sport that has drinking deep-rooted into its culture.

I was once told "playing rugby involved a lifetime of delirious enjoyment punctuated by 80 minutes of torture".

Fifteen players representing Australia were reprimanded for drinking and staying up late in the build-up to Saturday's win against Ireland.

Does that represent a change in culture away from the supposed camaraderie and does it serve an intended purpose to filter down to the grassroots?

Daily Examiner sports editor Bill North wonders whether the drinking culture involved in Australian sport for so many years is on the wane.
Daily Examiner sports editor Bill North wonders whether the drinking culture involved in Australian sport for so many years is on the wane.

Grafton Redmen secretary Angus McKimm believes the changes to rugby union at the top level has not converted into a major shift in attitudes at a ground level.

"Rugby is a gentleman's sport played with a sense of camaraderie, good humour and fun that you don't see elsewhere," McKimm said.

"It's gone professional at the top levels and there have been lots of other changes, but the culture here in regional Australia is still the same deep down.

"I hope the underlying culture of rugby union never changes, it is unique."

Yamba Buccaneers president Bob Thompson admitted drinking in general was an issue in Australia, and sport including rugby union was not immune.

"Rugby culture has always prided itself on being able have a drink and a good time, but not get involved in pub brawls, getting agro or smashing things up," Thompson said.



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