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England rugby players refused to wear rainbow laces saying they are ‘uncomfortable’ in their boots

Many teams donned the rainbow laces to support openly gay former rugby player Gareth Thomas after he was attacked

By Steve Brown

Some England rugby players refused to wear rainbow laces because they are ‘uncomfortable’ in their boots.

Last week, openly gay former rugby player Gareth Thomas took to social media to reveal that he was the victim of a homophobic hate crime in his home city of Cardiff.

Following his attack, Wales and France teams announced they would be wearing the rainbow laces during their test match against Fiji in Paris last weekend.

However, during England’s game against Australia, some players had not worn the laces – which aim to show support to the LGBT community for Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign.

Although some players refused to wear the laces, it was not in support of the LGBT community, but instead because the laces feel ‘uncomfortable’ in their boots.

Flanker Sam Underhill said: “That’s more to do with the thickness of the laces, they are actually really uncomfortable in my boots.

“And they are really long. I won’t be wearing them, but I feel support the LGBT community. That’s something we are all very, very keen that people know.

“On game day, little things can make quite big differences. If it was on a shirt or something like that, I don’t think anyone would say anything.

“But it’s just the fact that you get two bits of kits that are yours – your boots and your gumshield.

“It sounds a bit stupid, but changes in things such as your laces can make a big difference to a player. You like to keep your routine the same.”

Centre Ben Te’o added: “I’ll just leave my boots as they are, as I’ve had them for the autumn.”

England went on to beat Australia 10-3.