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Bagpipe ban riles Scots at World Cup

Updated: September 21, 2011, 06:44


WELLINGTON, New Zealand(AP) Scotland players are said to be upset and "gutted'' that their fans aren't allowed to play bagpipes in stadiums at the Rugby World Cup.

Scotland kicking coach Duncan Hodge says the ban on musical instruments in stadiums has been depriving the team of a traditional source of motivation.

The Scots next face Argentina in a crucial Pool B match at Wellington Regional Stadium on Sunday.

The World Cup organizers' catch-all prohibition on musical instruments has been deemed to include bagpipes, which have stirred Scottish hearts for centuries.

Matt Strachan wrote to New Zealand's prime minister when Strachan was told the bagpipes he had carried from Scotland to New Zealand for the World Cup could not be played at his team's games.

The Scotland government has supported Strachan's call for a relaxation of the ban and the lone piper's Facebook page has drawn thousands of supporters.

"I've played the pipes in most of the UK stadiums and also in France during the last World Cup and they have always been gratefully received,'' Strachan said. "Why then after many sporting years have the World Cup organizers decided against having them in stadiums?''

Hodge said Scottish players were disappointed they may not hear the skirl of the pipes as the face Argentina. The winner of the match may join England in advancing from Pool B to the tournament's quarterfinals.

"I think the Scots would be a bit gutted if they were (banned),'' Hodge said. "The guys would rather have bagpipes than not, put it that way.

"When you arrive at the ground and are warming up, you quite like to hear the sound of bagpipes. The Argentineans I'd imagine would have all kinds of support, so it would be nice to cancel that out with a few bagpipes.''

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