Nadine Dorries referred to Jonny Wilkinson’s losing goal for England in the 2003 Rugby League World Cup final despite his speech to a rugby league audience; Dorries attempted to shed some light on her faux pas, writing on Twitter that she may have code-switched like Jason Robinson
By Associated Press
Last update: 06/30/22 4:45 p.m.
Nadine Dorries, digital, culture, media and sport secretary, confused rugby league with the rival rugby union on Thursday.
Dorries stunned a rugby league audience in St Helens by referring to Jonny Wilkinson’s losing goal for England in the 2003 Rugby League World Cup final in Sydney.
Dorries was speaking at the launch of a social impact report on England hosting the Rugby League World Cup in October, at community club Portico Vine.
“I’ve always liked the idea of rugby league,” Dorries said. “My long-standing memory is that drop goal from 2003.
“I’ll let you in on a secret. I think we were drinking Bloody Marys at the time. It was 11 a.m. but, wow, what a time it was.
“I’ve heard, and I know from my limited observations, that it’s an incredibly physical and sometimes brutal sport and often ends in scrum, which reminds me a lot of politics.
“I think we have a lot in common, and given that a lot of the media likes to call me the Prime Minister’s attack dog, I sometimes wonder if I should try rugby.”
Dorries attempted to shed some light on her faux pas, writing on Twitter that she may have code-switched like Jason Robinson, but her comments were condemned by Portico Vine vice president Billy Vaughan.
“Anyone writing these scripts should check their facts before the speeches are given,” Vaughan said. “And second, if you’re the person giving the speech, you need to do your research to verify that the information you’ve been given is correct.
“The difference between rugby league and rugby union is huge – we are minnows in comparison.
“I applaud the government for the money (£25m) they have put into rugby league, but to make that drop goal reference we failed.”
World Cup chief executive Jon Dutton said he would invite Dorries to attend the games to see for herself how wonderful sporting rugby league is.
She tweeted: “Obviously I’ve followed rugby league a lot less in my life, but I can’t wait to see England (and all the home nations) in the RL World Cup this autumn.”