MARTIN Hannan is quite correct about modern rugby. It favours big men.

This came about because of the changes in the rules that legalised obstruction through the use of the ruck and the maul.

When I played rugby (more than 50 years ago) the rule was that both tackled and tackler had to roll away after a tackle and allow the following players to play the ball with the foot first before picking it up.

Nowadays, after a tackle, the player tackled not only lies over the ball, but sometimes pushes the ball backwards with his hands – both clear examples of obstruction.

READ MORE: Scotland the entertainers as other Six Nations sides slug it out

It is even worse in a maul, when players are allowed to push forwards while in front of the ball, thus stopping the opposition from tackling the player carrying the ball. Players are even penalised for collapsing the maul!

These rules favour big players over smaller players and spoil the game for me.

I can understand why the use of the foot was discouraged, because some flying boot could easily injure a player, but I cannot understand why players are allowed to obstruct so much. If players were penalised for obstruction, the game would be more exciting and fairer.

I don’t expect anything to change now. Like with politics, there are too many vested interests.

John Kelly

I HOPE I’m not alone in thinking that Sunday’s Ferret production (New rules leave wildlife site at risk from golf plan, February 3) was a tad hysterical to the point of bias.

I thought I was reading a Daily Mail or Telegraph article such was the vehemence of support for well-off establishment groups such as the RSPB, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Plantlife and their like. I trust The Ferret is not becoming The Puppet.

READ MORE: Scottish Government 'leave wildlife at risk' from Coul Links golf plan

Lazy journalism too, just regurgitating without question the prompts and quotes provided by these organisations – completely unbeffiting the investigative standards set by The National thus far. Come up and see the place and meet the people before remotely filing the story.

Finally, I’d be grateful if The Ferret might use its RSPB contacts to find an answer to an enigma which has bothered me for some time – cars and cats kill more birds than golfers, but I’ve never seen an RSPB campaign against either?

Jim McGillivray

I NOTE R Mill Irving’s letter (February 4) on the running debate in reference to Churchill. He says “one of your correspondents attempts to conflate Nazism with reasoned understanding of 1940s thinking”.

I presume he means my letter of February 2 when I doubted the validity of Jim Taylor’s logic that historical events must be seen in context only, and present-day politicians should not criticise historical crimes in the past.

I am using this absurd logic by mockingly trying to justify Nazism to show just how flawed this logic is.

READ MORE: Letters, Februrary 4

I am afraid that he has grossly misunderstood me. I am in no way trying to conflate Nazism and thinking in the 1940s (actually really the late 1930s onwards) but using it as an example of the falsehood of such “logical” thinking, that it allows you to justify any historical events (which is clearly nonsense) and silence any criticism, which is extremely dangerous.

In time they’ll be justifying Thatcher’s destruction of whole communities, the wrecking of many, many lives, the destruction of working-class culture and power, the Falkands war etc, because “it was in context”!

I note also that he only mentions Churchill’s racist past. We must also remember his personal attacks on the working class, for instance his sending the army into South Wales to break up a miners’ strike and his actions in George Square in Glasgow.

Churchill was very much protecting the British Empire but also his class, the aristocracy against the working classes!!

Crisdean Mac Fhearghais
Dùn Èideann

I’M afraid it won’t do to suggest that Mary Queen of Scots was “killed for being a Catholic”.

The pretext for Mary’s beheading was that she was involved in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth and install Mary in her place on the English throne. That there was such a plot and that Mary was actively aware of it is not in doubt: Elizabeth’s spymaster Walsingham and his agents were very good at their job, and had obtained incontrovertible evidence.

Since she was not Elizabeth’s subject, there might have been some doubt regarding the legality of her being tried and sentenced in Elizabeth’s realm under that realm’s laws; but her being party to an assassination plot made her execution a practical certainty.

Mary’s troubles were by no means all of her own making, but on no possible showing can she be presented as an innocent victim.

Derrick McClure

READ MORE: Letters, Februrary 4