Balkan ghosts at the feast

22nd September, 2019
Alin Petrache of Romania (bottom left) makes a burst for the line against England at Twickenham in November 2001: the Oaks have declined as a rugby nation in recent timesGetty

It’s been some week. From the moment Gareth Thomas decided to reveal that he has been living with HIV, to the news that South Africa’s star winger Aphiwe Dyantyi had failed a drug test earlier this year, there hasn’t been a shortage of headlines. Even the weather report, signalling the arrival of a typhoon that threatened to throw the start of this tournament into chaos, got people talking. And that was before this thing called...

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