Nadine Dorries confuses rugby league with rugby union in embarrassing gaffe

Nadine Dorries confuses rugby league with rugby union in embarrassing gaffe
Nadine Dorries says she doesn't 'fancy' Boris Johnson

Ask any rugby fan, and they’ll tell you that the difference between rugby league and rugby union is absolutely massive.

They’re completely different sports, in fact, and it would be pretty embarrassing for anyone to confuse the two – especially if, say, they were Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

But that hasn’t stopped Nadine Dorries from putting her foot in it for what feels like the 1,000th time in the past few weeks.

Dorries was appearing at a Rugby League World Cup event in St Helens on Thursday when she made a blunder sure to make sports fans wince up and down the country.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Dorries addressed the crowd and said: “I’ve always quite liked the idea of rugby league.”

Nothing remarkable there, but she then went on to reference the moment Johnny Wilkinson won the 2003 world cup for England with a drop goal in the closing stages – which was in fact rugby union and not rugby league.

“My long-standing memory is that 2003 drop-goal. I’ll let you into a secret. I think we were drinking Bloody Marys at the time… it was 11 o’clock in the morning,” she said.

“But wow. What a moment that was. But from my limited watching - I’m not going to say I’m an expert who watches it all the time - I’ve heard rugby league is a physical and sometimes brutal sport and it often ends up in a scrum which actually reminds me very much of politics.”

In St Helens, one of the heartlands of the rugby league world, mixing up the rugby codes didn’t go down all that well – and the internet was quick to react too.

Dorries also posted about the mix-up on Twitter, referencing Jason Robinson who represented the England national teams in both union and league.

“Like Jason Robinson I may have switched codes in my speech... Both league & union have a rich heritage in the UK. Obviously I've followed rugby league much less in my lifetime, but I'm looking forward to watching England (& all the home nations) in the RL World Cup this Autumn.”

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.
The Conversation (0)