Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rugby Planet disinformation and exploitation

A terrible accidental tragedy befell a young Argentine rugby player this past weekend.

Rugby Planet was quick to pick up the story and then rush to judgment:

Argentine rugby in mourning

Monday 23rd June 2008

Argentine rugby was left to mourn Juan Cruz Migliore on Saturday after he passed away from injuries suffered in a Buenos Aires Rugby Union (URBA) Premier Division game.

The 20-year-old wing, who was playing for C.U.B.A. against San Fernando, suffered a broken neck when a maul collapsed on him early in the second half.

Playing in just his third game since joining the club, Cruz Migliore had opened the scoring in the first minute of the game.

Got that...? As reported by Rugby Planet, Mr. Migliore was killed by a broken neck when a maul collapsed on him.

It might have been well enough to leave the facts, brief though they are, right there -- and correct them later if the facts are in dispute.

But no. Rugby Planet decided the timing was perfect to exploit the young man's death, and sermonize about the ELVs:

(Continuing directly...)

His injury and subsequent loss of life brings into question the new ELVs which are set to allow the collapsing of mauls.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) made a stance earlier in the month when they refused to let those playing age-grade rugby in England collapse mauls for safety reasons.

The sad loss of Cruz Migliore should serve as a warning to those in authority that certain aspects of the game need to be kept the same for players continued safety.

Rugby Planet didn't stop the moralizing there. In his "Voice From the Stands" commentary, columnist Marcus Leach hoses more gasoline onto the fire:

[O]n Saturday, 20-year-old Argentine wing Juan Cruz Migliore also died after suffering a broken neck when trapped under a pile of bodies.

Surely such an injury highlights the dangers involved in collapsing mauls and players freely going off their feet at rucks, and yet the IRB are happy to introduce the ELVs which allow mauls to be collapsed. It just doesn't add up.

Riders in the Tour de France were eventually forced to wear helmets, but not until several riders had died from head injuries - most famously Fabio Casartelli who died in 1995 after a crash in the race. Let us pray that it does not take the same wake-up call in rugby before those in power reassess the laws coming into play next season.

Poor kid dies, and Rugby Planet can't wait to scream, "Told ya so!!"

Except that the "facts" as presented by Rugby Planet may be stretching the truth elastic.

According to a witness named "Julian," who posts on the Rugby Planet forum, the tragedy had nothing to do with a broken neck, and nothing to do with a collapsed maul. He writes:

As always, the story is wrong, is not a collapsed maul, he was hit (not very hard) at the end of a RUCK.

His neck wasn't broken, the autopsy told the investigators death by sophocation.

(Sic: suffocation.)

"Julian" elaborates further in another thread:

Migliore was tackled and he felt down, inmediately five players of the opponent team formed a ruck and the ball came out quickly, it took no more than 10 seconds for the whole situation. He remained down and was given first attentions on the pitch as he didn't wake up, then he was transfered to the emergency room inside the club.

We have an state of the art emergency room, but it wasn´t enough, he suffered two strokes there and died on the ambulance in the way to the hospital. His family was witnessing the match, father, mother, uncle and relatives. He lived one block from the pitch.

The sense of anguish and desperation felt yesterday at every rugby pitch in Buenos Aires will be hard to forget.

O-kay, as heart-wrenching as that testimony certainly seems, it's nevertheless posted by a stranger on an internet forum. Gotta be skeptical of those. The guy could be any b.s. artiste, right...?

Since we can't rely on that single anonymous source, let's then look for an actual Argentine news report like this (w/photos):


Tragedia en Villa de Mayo

C.U.B.A. derrotaba a San Fernando por 26-11 cuando la noticia del fallecimiento de Juan Cruz Migliore sacudió la tarde. El wing universitario sufrió un golpe a los nueve minutos de juego y fue retirado del campo. Más tarde, el encuentro fue suspendido.

La tarde empezó como cualquier otra tarde de rugby. Incluso arrancó bien para Juan Cruz, de sólo 20 años (cumplía el 28 de diciembre), que marcó el primer try del encuentro a segundos del comienzo del partido ante San Fernando.

Pero luego sucedió el hecho trágico: Iban nueve minutos cuando Migliore, que estaba dentro dentro de un ruck, sacó la pelota y tres jugadores de San Fernando se le cayeron encima. [...]

Can't read Spanish...? Let's go to the Babelfish translation:

Tragedy in Villa of May

C.U.B.A. defeated to San Fernando by 26-11 when the news of the death of Juan Migliore Cross shook afternoon. Wing university underwent a blow to the nine minutes of game and was retired of the field. Later, the encounter was suspended.

Afternoon it began like any other behind schedule of rugby. It even took well for Juan Cross, of only 20 years (it fulfilled the 28 of December), that try of the encounter marked first seconds of the beginning of the party before San Fernando.

But soon the tragic fact happened: Nine minutes went when Migliore, that was inside within ruck, removed the ball and three players of San Fernando fell to him above.

Still with life, but without responding to no of the stimuli, he was removed from the playground and taken to the infirmary of the club, according to counted Rodolfo Bovazzi, doctor of San Fer. Without delay, an ambulance transferred to the Hospital Doctor Federico Father, of the Municipality of the Argentine Falklands, but Juan Cross passed away in the passage and its body, so that the autopsy is realised, was transferred to the Hospital Ramon Cheek, of Citadel.

To the 16 minutes of the second time the referee Diego Pasman received the news and, obvious, he gave by suspended the encounter.

"One was an accidental, fortuitous fact and without similar antecedents in rugby. This it is a sport of risk but of much chivalry. The accident took place in a normal situation of the party, Juan Cross was underneath five players and was laying by a blow in the base of the skull”, explained the Cuban DT, Pedro Lance, that soon added: “The mother was in the field and I greeted when it, she embraced to me and she said to me that for his son he was one of the happiest moments of his life”.

On the other hand, referee Pasman, that directed its second divided in First Division, told “formed ruck, loosen the ball, stopped all, I followed the play and to the rat they made signs me to indicate to me that Migliore was fallen”.

The official doctor of the Union of Rugby of Buenos Aires, Marcelo Saco, discarded that the death of Migliore has been brought about by disloyalty in the game or lack of apt doctor. “One was an accident. Its death did not have anything to do with a situation of disloyal game or lack of apt doctor. Juan Cross was a healthy boy”, assured to him to Télam.

In addition, Coat emphasized that “what happened to Juan Cross to him can happen in any sport practice and until in a traffic accident”.

From this space, all that we do Rugby Fun we wished to send our condolencias and to offer him to our support to the family of Juan Cross to him and C.U.B.A.

Rugby Planet was informed of these facts over a day ago. Rugby Planet has not yet reported and/or clarified these facts, nor offered a mea culpa for their disinformation and pious scaremongering. Juan Cruz Migliore and the IRB deserve better than to have their names dragged through the mud because Rugby Planet got on a high horse.


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