In Brief

Today’s back pages: ‘Never assume rugby is a racism-free zone’, warns England’s Maro Itoje

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 17 October

Itoje’s warning for rugby 

Maro Itoje says the abuse suffered by England footballers in Bulgaria this week was “appalling” and “abysmal”, but the forward has warned that rugby union is not immune from racism. 

The Daily Telegraph headline quotes the 24-year-old who says “never assume rugby is free from discrimination”, while the Daily Mail uses Itoje’s warning that “there’s racism in rugby too”.

Itoje, who will line up for England in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia, said: “I know people in rugby who have experienced it in the professional game - not necessarily in the Premiership but playing in different parts of the world - and grass roots.

“In rugby you don’t have microphones everywhere so it’s hard to prove. 

“It’s important never to just assume that this is a free zone from any form of discrimination. I think rugby is probably, from the sports I’ve seen, right up there in terms of integrity, respect and how they treat people. 

“But I think it is important to never just assume that it’s always going to be that way.”

Today’s newspaper back pages

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