THE day before the final of the Rugby World Cup we heard a lot about England being "the favourites" and had to endure more than 10 minutes of this item being the lead story on the "national" TV news at 6pm. If Scotland, Wales or Ireland had been in the finals, would they have been accorded the same viewing time? There were also various commentators during the day who referred to rugby's "core values" which, we were told, include humility and respect.

How shameful, then, to see many of the England team removing their medals immediately after receiving them – one even refused to have his put round his neck – rude, childish, churlish, disrespectful, a terrible example and an embarrassing sight.

Lots of teams would have been pleased to have got so far and done so well – it was only arrogance, and a lack of respect for the Springboks, which made the English think they were certain, deserving winners, and thus their defeat was all the more crushing.

The team's disappointment was painful to watch, but imagine if Olympic silver and bronze medallists refused their medals at the award ceremonies. In modern parlance, "time to man up".

I hope this behaviour will be addressed by World Rugby.

Lizanne MacKenzie, Dumfries.

AND so an engrossing final between England and South Africa has brought the curtain down on the 2019 World Cup. Japan is to be warmly congratulated on running such a successful tournament.

My wife and I, together with our two sons who live and work in Tokyo, had the real pleasure of attending the Scotland vs Russia World game. It was a tremendous day out. The organisation was first-class. From the moment that we stepped off the train to walk to the Shizuoka Stadium we were met with nothing but kindness and consideration. The stadium was packed. With so few Russian supporters, hundreds of local schoolchildren were there all waving little Scottish Saltire flags. The atmosphere was terrific. To help stagger the dispersal of the large crowd, there was a fireworks show put on 15 minutes after the final whistle. Even our departure from the stadium was special. I simply cannot imagine leaving Murrayfield at the end of a game and walking back through a line of smiling, applauding stewards.

There is though one sour note and that has been the sight of some English supporters dressed in what can only be described as "crusader costumes" – fake chain mail covered by white surcoats decorated with a large red cross. Surely in these difficult times this is incredibly crass and simply plays into the hands of the ISIS narrative. The sale of these garments should be banned.

Eric Melvin, Edinburgh EH10.

Government is not secular

RICHARD Lucas (Letters, October 28) appears to think the job of a school is to propagate the religions of parents.

This is not only ideologically wrong but when the predominantly SNP Scottish Government endorses the continuation of faith schools; insists that every school holds religious observance assemblies "of a largely Christian nature", and persists with the Scotland-only law that there must be three unelected representatives appointed by religious organisations, two of which must be Christian, it is clearly incorrect of Mr Lucas to claim that the SNP has a "mould of secular liberal progressivism". I wish it were so.

It is right that in our open society our children are taught to think for themselves and are free to draw their own conclusions as regards belief systems of the world.

David A Lord, Vice-Chairman, Edinburgh Secular Society, Edinburgh EH12.