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Poll breathes new life into RWC bagpipes row

Published: 1:51PM Wednesday September 21, 2011 Source: ONE News

Most New Zealanders are against a ban on musical instruments like the bagpipes at Rugby World Cup games, according to a poll.

The ban has got Scottish fans riled, with even the country's sports minister calling for it to be overturned.

More than 16,000 people voted in a Close Up poll tonight, with 71% against the ban.

Former Scotland player Scott Hastings said the ban was "ridiculous" and likened it to banning mooloo cow bells from Waikato games.

"It's a big inspiration for the Scottish players and I think Martin Snedden, who's in charge of this World Cup, should relax this particular ban," Hastings told Close Up.

Chief rugby writer for the Scotsman newspaper, David Ferguson, also thought the ban was a mistake.

"I think it's a big part of the heritage and this is supposed to be a World Cup that's celebrating lots of culture and bringing culture together."

He said bagpipers know when not to play.

"They're not going to play all through the game like vuvuzelas."

Scotland fan and piper Matthew Strachan, 32, has even written to Prime Minister John Key to call on him to intervene.

Strachan said he spend a considerable sum getting to New Zealand and was disappointed when he was not allowed to take his pipes into the Romania and Georgia games in Invercargill.

"I've played the pipes in most of the UK stadiums and also in France during the last World Cup and they have always been gratefully received. Why then after many sporting years have the World Cup organisers decided against having them in stadiums?"

But sports broadcaster and England supporter Miles Davis is supporting the ban, saying bagpipes sound like "a hyena caught in a gin trap".

"It is an abomination. It is as bad as the vuvuzela," Davis told Close Up.

Shadbolt bags ban

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt is backing calls for Rugby World Cup organisers to overturn a ban on bagpipes at matches.

Invercargill is the official host city for the Scotland rugby team and Shadbolt attended both games involving them at Rugby Park Stadium. He said pipe bands playing outside the gates added to the atmosphere.

"We here in Invercargill we are very proud of our Scottish heritage so we're coming out to bat for them," Shadbolt said.

He said the tradition should be granted more respect from World Cup officials.

"It is not some gimmick, but a serious part of Scotland's culture," the mayor said.

Rugby World Cup spokesman Mike Jaspers said earlier in the week that there was no specific ban on bagpipes, but a range of musical items, such as drums and vuvuzelas, are not allowed in because they can interfere with others' enjoyment of the game.

He was not aware of anyone bearing bagpipes being refused entry to any grounds, nor of the Scottish minister's request.

- With Newstalk ZB/NZN

What do you think about bagpipes at rugby games? Have your say on our messageboard

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  • anchana said on 2011-09-23 @ 01:24 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Shadbolt's a bit late again,council needs to get real or get replaced,simple really.Those 10 year plans dont work,they never have & never will,Invercargill requires a fresh new approach for missguided management,we are not just Scots or any one race at all so must shoulder to cater for all,thats where the wise investor invests

  • Marly said on 2011-09-22 @ 19:17 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Much better idea is BAN the Haka. What do they think people really think of a line of ugly, eye popping, warlike, terrifying,barbarians with protruding quivering tongues that are totally insulting & offend our culture. We are drowning in hakas that have no origin with the game of Rugby whatsoever. Just another example of stealth & dominance by the mories. Morely

  • heatherallan said on 2011-09-22 @ 16:06 NZDT: Report abusive post

    C'mon NZ'rs get a life!! As an ex side drummer of a pipe band and at 77 years of age, I still have my blood stir at the sound of the pipes. It beats some of that ghastly noise that is music(?) coming from the stands at the present rugby games. Does NZ need any more embarrassments from this RWC??? Gisborne Gran Fan

  • John62 said on 2011-09-22 @ 15:47 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I'm Scottish and love the sound of the bagpipes in ceremonies and cultural events, however they have no place in the stands at an international sporting event. Keep them on the arena with the haka and all the other pre-game performances.

  • mcc26 said on 2011-09-22 @ 15:46 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Can't see why they are banned, because they are loud...build a bridge. If someone has the money, skill, and guts to take them in, why not. Let's face it, they wont be playing them all the time. I am so proud of my Scottish heritage, I would love to see them there!! Nothing stirs a Scot like the bagpipes.

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