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‘There are highly-qualified black coaches in England – I am one of them’

“They never even hinted at that. If they did, and gave me areas to improve on, I could have gone away and worked on those areas. That information was never given to me. I had to be courageous and make a decision.

“Other coaches might have sat tight. I didn’t think I could be a role model for players if I didn’t feel I was getting respect from my peers. After eight seasons, a big chunk of my life, at Harlequins, I didn’t even get a thank you at the end. From that point of view, it was pretty tough.”

Abrahams was still officially affiliated to USA Rugby on May 25 when George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, sparking worldwide protests under the Black Lives Matter movement. He says the incident “opened up unnecessary wounds” and stirred him to “question certain things”.

“In America, I would be more aware when walking to the shops on my own in the evening,” Abrahams adds. “I would be more aware when driving myself to training. There just had to be a greater awareness of what you did in public.

“My partner is white British and we have a mixed-race daughter. She is always asked whether she is the mother when she comes through customs.”

Earlier this month, Abrahams listened to a candid conversation between Ugo Monye, Maro Itoje, Beno Obano and Anthony Watson for a special edition of the Rugby Union Weekly podcast on the sport’s relationship with race. His reaction was one of gratitude.


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