England deny Princess Anne snub
April 3, 2000
England rugby authorities made an unreserved apology to Princess Anne on Sunday when the England team failed to go up and collect the Six Nations trophy from her.
England, who saw their Grand Slam hopes disappear on the final day of the campaign for the second successive year, left the field without receiving the gleaming silver prize and denied that they had deliberately snubbed the prizegiving in a fit of pique at losing the biggest prize of the lot.
The RFU confirmed they had received a briefing from the Scottish Rugby Union last Thursday regarding trophy presentation protocol, which was relayed to members of the English management.
But according to the RFU, the players felt that after being well beaten by Scotland it was only fair the Scots enjoyed the moment and received the Calcutta Cup in front of their home supporters.
Irrespective of Sunday's outcome, England were already assured of being crowned inaugural Six Nations Champions, courtesy of Wales beating Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.
Princess Anne handed over the Calcutta Cup to victorious Scottish skipper Andy Nicol, but the Six Nations Trophy remained unpresented.The incident sparked talks between representatives from the SRU and RFU and they issued a joint statement 'in order to clarify some misunderstandings.'
'We unreservedly apologise for what has obviously been a breakdown in communications to Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, the sponsors and England supporters who had travelled to the game,' RFU President Jeff Addison said. He confirmed that the RFU were already in discussion with the sponsors to organise a suitable date for the trophy presentation.
SRU President Harvey Wright added ,'I am sure that at the end of a compelling and highly charged contest the England players meant no offence when they were unable to collect the trophy in the stadium.They were worthy winners of the inaugural championship and I hope they take as much pleasure from their success as all Scots derived from our Five Nations Championship victory last season.'
'On returning to their dressing room the England party were informed by the SRU that the trophy was available for presentation in the stadium, ' read the joint statement, 'An alternative was offered for the trophy to be presented at the post-match function.'
'The England management thanked the SRU for the offer and, with many of the players already in the process of changing, decided to take up the latter option.Subsequently, however, this proved not to be possible.'