Ian Costello, the Wasps defence coach, says it’s “completely unacceptable” that Jacob Umaga has been forced off social media by abuse aimed the outside half after recent performances.
Umaga had a poor game in the defeat by Harlequins but remains a member of the England shadow squad for the Six Nations and will feature for his club in Sunday’s match at Worcester. Football has seen a number of high profile players targeted for online abuse along with referee Mike Dean who has received death threats.
Costello believes rugby needs to ensure players are protected from online abuse and is aware that Umaga has deactivated his Instagram after receiving flak for his performances.
Costello said: “What we can do is make sure we support and protect the players and we look at that (abuse) as completely unacceptable and make sure that kind of behaviour isn’t condoned. Jacob has to just stay away from that kind of stuff. He is positive, resilient and will bounce back. As a sport, we have to make players are protected from this as much as possible. If I am honest it is something that shouldn’t be happening but it is happening.
“As a sport we have to look into it deeper to see how we can stop it happening.
“It is up to each individual player how he deals with it. Keeping away from a lot of that attention whether it is positive or negative is probably the right way to go. More importantly from our point of view, Jacob is hugely respected and valued and supported by everybody here. He is a quality player with a really good temperament and he had a poor game against Harlequins and he will tell you that himself.
“The way he applied himself last week, the way he trained and helped prepare the team ( to face Northampton) was top class. “