The fall-out from Wayne Rooney’s latest outburst has once more seen rugby union compared favourably to its round ball cousin.
The Manchester United forward yet again finds himself in hot water after directing his invective-laden anger into a television camera during his club’s Premier League match with West Ham.
Those actions not only refocused public attention on Rooney’s individual disciplinary record but also on the collective standards of behaviour deemed acceptable in association football.
As a result in the last few days rugby has been held up to contrast the predominant attitudes in the two codes and has been applauded for the high expectations the sport has of its participants.
And rightfully so, especially when it comes to the treatment of officials, an area in which rugby union is light years ahead of - or perhaps behind - soccer and one in which it is difficult to think of an incident similar to the one that happened at Upton Park.
But they do happen and according to Dai Scard such outbursts are on the increase with eight recorded this season - around 25 per cent of all the cases reported to the North Midlands disciplinary committee.
For that reason Scard has written to all of the body’s member clubs urging increased vigilance and calling for chairmen across the county to take a lead role in restating the sport’s values and ensuring they are adhered to.
And while Scard insists in terms of on-pitch violence the sport is cleaner than it ever has been, he is also worried about a rise in a certain offence.
“We have a particular concern in the increase of abuse of referees - both verbal and physical - and the fact it seems to have now gone into the junior game,” he said.
“I sent a letter out about it last year and it seemed to work so our management committee thought it would be worth doing it again. Since then I have had several clubs thanking me for it out,
“Sadly there are some clubs who have not even put it on their website, we are monitoring it as we go. If we get an offence of referee abuse we are asking the clubs what they have done with that letter.”
North Mids’ stance on the issue was supported by the RFU last month when Mark Taylor, a youth coach from Old Halesonians was found guilty of verbally abusing and manhandling an official - the latter charge being one he denied.
“It is the coaches who should know better,” Scard said. “It is a real concern, they are the role models and guardians of the sport’s ethos. If this goes unchecked you will have referees leaving the game.”