Australia has been making plenty of noise, and significant progress, about silencing homophobia within all sporting codes.
But the problem raised its ugly head again at the weekend when Brumbies star David Pocock, a vocal advocate of same-sex marriage, twice complained to referee Craig Joubert, upset over homophobic slurs made to Brumbies players during their match against the Waratahs.
Brumbies chief executive Michael Jones said players were informed after the match that Super Rugby’s governing body SANZAR had begun an investigation into the allegations.
“One player made a number of remarks on a number of occasions and it was fairly continuous throughout the game,” Jones said.
“There were more than just homophobic comments made by this player that were a little bit unsavoury.”
The accusation was believed to have been directed at a NSW forward.
Israel Folau has since said he is certain homophobia is not a problem at the NSW Waratahs.
“Certainly not. Rugby’s a game of inclusion where everyone is welcomed in and so me personally I don’t think there’s any of that within this club and also in the game of rugby,” Folau said.
Meanwhile, police are investigating a homophobic tweet sent to referee Nigel Owens following Saturday’s Six Nations match between England and France.
Welshman Owens, who came out as gay in 2007, took charge of a dramatic 55-35 win for the hosts at Twickenham, as England came up just short in their bid to deny Ireland the championship.
The tweet said: “Your a gay c*** awful performance against france tonight, how did england top Wales?”
Mr Owens then called him out on the social media site, saying: “You want me to report this homophobic tweet do you?”
But the Twitter troll reportedly then apologised and claimed his phone had been stolen.
The match was Owens’ first at Twickenham since the Rugby Football Union banned two fans for two years and fined them £1000 each to be paid to a charity of Owens’ choice following an investigation into allegations they subjected the referee to homophobic abuse during England’s 24-21 loss to New Zealand in November.