BBC reporter in tears as furious rugby fans lash out on Twitter

BBC reporter Sonja McLaughlan was reduced to tears after furious rugby fans called her "embarrassing, disgraceful, appalling".

After England were beaten 40-24 by rivals Wales in the Six Nations, she grilled head coach Eddie Jones and skipper Owen Farrell about the poor performance, controversial refereeing decisions and ill discipline.

Trolls took issue with some of her questions and began abusing her on Twitter.

After the match, she tweeted: "Toxic, embarrassing, disgraceful, appalling. Just some of the feedback I’ve had. Thanks for using @ sign so it’s all hit home.

"Now imagine getting inundated with abuse for doing your job. In my car crying. Hope you’re happy."

Many of her 33,000 followers, the BBC and England Rugby have condemned the abuse and offered their support to the experienced reporter.

In a heartfelt tweet, England player Catherine Spencer replied: "Please know that this is from a small minority.

"Please know that there are many, many, many of us out here who love you and appreciate how good you are at your job."

Sports journalist Steffan Thomas tweeted: "I thought you were excellent. You asked all the hard and relevant questions as you always do. Excellent journalism."

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In a statement, the BBC said: "BBC Sport strongly condemns the online abuse experienced by Sonja McLaughlan after the Wales v England match.

"Sonja has long been a key member of our Six Nations team and she absolutely has our full support."

England Rugby tweeted: "Sonja, we are really sorry to hear this and hope you are ok. Abuse for doing your job is not OK and we stand with you.

"We will see you for the next one. Hold your head high and know you have our support.

"Rugby’s core values are Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship.

"Whether we are fans, players, coaches, referees, volunteers or in the media we are all part of the rugby community.

"We should all aim to hold ourselves to these values of our great game."

French referee Pascal Gauzere, who took charge of the Six Nations match in Cardiff, has also come under fire after he awarded two controversial tries to Wales inside the first 30 minutes.

Wayne Pivac's Wales side went on to win the Triple Crown and now have their sights set on a Grand Slam.

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