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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nigel Owens shows Anthony Allen the way to the football stadium

Referee Nigel Owens, who we all remember for his 'This is not soccer' comment, delivered another round balled reference this past weekend as he officiated the Leicester Tigers vs Ulster Heineken Cup match. Ulster won 22-19 away from home.

Owens, who has garnered much praise in the last 12 months for two stand-out performances in particular, took exception to the way that Anthony Allen was complaining about his decision.

'The Football stadium is 500 yards that way' was his response, followed by some rumblings that couldn't be heard on TV but no doubt had something to do with the manner in which football players speak to the referees, and how that won't be tolerated in rugby. Ouch.

What's the strangest or harshest thing a referee has ever said to you on a rugby field?

Posted at 12:39 pm | 71 comments

Nigel Owens with some Social Media DO's and DON'Ts

Charged down ball hits referee Andrew Small in the face

Dylan Hartley out of Lions after swearing at Wayne Barnes

Referee Nigel Owens chats to the TMO, on an iPhone

Referee Nigel Owens - 'This is not Soccer'

Referee Nigel Owens takes a tumble at Soccer City

Nigel Owens - Behind the Whistle

Posted in Funnies

Viewing 71 comments

King-Rug January 23, 2014 1:02 pm

My favourite comes from a local game. A player was heard to swear at a decision going against them, which prompted an intervention from the referee. In his defense the player claimed that he wasn't swearing at the referee, he was swearing at himself. The referee said "I'm not having anyone on this field talk to you like that" and sent him to cool off for 10 minutes!

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DanKnapp January 23, 2014 1:16 pm

That is absolutely brilliant.

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Eddie-g January 23, 2014 5:35 pm

Didn't Dylan Hartley try to argue that once? Huge surprise, no one believed him.

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Badge January 24, 2014 9:33 pm

The internet called...it wants you to know you won.

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Might Molton January 23, 2014 1:03 pm

I once has a red that said you can't make a tackle past the 5m line :&

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DanKnapp January 23, 2014 1:03 pm

Good work Mr Owens. This is why he's one of the best. He doesn't accept any nonsense from the players. There are so many great clips of referees in rugby telling the players to shut up and back down. We don't want our sport going the way of football, with players verbally abusing referees on the pitch.

The players should respect the authority that the referee embodies. Owens has done enough over the years to be able to demand that respect from players.

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Taff55 January 23, 2014 1:17 pm

He gets better and better - I suggest there are very few if any better than him around at the moment

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christo January 23, 2014 1:21 pm

A referee once told a player that the crowd had an opinion of him but players did not.

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Phil mc avity January 23, 2014 5:06 pm

The crowd should still respect the ref

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jmark January 23, 2014 1:23 pm

There were several comments by Nigel Owens around that incident - I seem to remember him telling Flood just before it to stop trying to referee the game.

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Bunn January 23, 2014 1:56 pm

When I was playing junior rugby we had a ref that said he would not tolerate swearing on the pitch because his young son was running the line. Sadly one of our lineout calls of the time was 'bollocks' and the referee promptly sent our hooker to the bin for 10

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adam January 23, 2014 1:57 pm

In a friendly game a player dropped the ball behind his back in order to backheel it forwards - ran forwards and caught it. It was pretty silky. The referee penalised him for being in front of the kicker and therefore offside for the catch.

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Disco January 23, 2014 2:06 pm

After an off-the-ball incident involving a flanker's elbow to the back of my head that the ref missed but acknowledged as having happened, the same flanker obstructed me as I was trying to follow the opposition scrum half around the ensuing scrum. Naturally, as scrum halves do, I gave the flanker a very hard open handed slap to the face and things generally descended into mayhem around the scrum for a while. Once the forwards had pulled themselves off each other the ref took me to one side, away from the mark and waved his finger in my face, frowning yet quietly saying to me "he's had it coming to him all game but I have to look like I'm giving you a bollocking so just bow your head and nod". I did just that while fighting off the urge to grin like a Cheshire cat. He reset the scrum and the game continued uneventfully.

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DrG January 23, 2014 9:17 pm

Hahahaha, awesome!

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backrovern January 23, 2014 2:50 pm

I was trapped at the bottom of a ruck and getting a serious slippering. I was trying to get out of the way and the ref pinged me for not moving. I told him I was trying to get out of the way, he replied, "not hard enough".

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matt the mauler January 23, 2014 3:00 pm

A referee once penalised my team 10 additional metres because of a look I gave him. I assured him that was just my face but he didn't believe me.

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redwan_ January 23, 2014 3:03 pm

Playing for my local U16s team, my dad was reffing (really small town, only about two qualified refs in the area) and the opposition had been betting pinged all game for a huge number of infringements (no bias, my dad was always likely to ping me if I was even anywhere near the ball, just cos he could, the sadist) but there was one ruck where their captain started mouthing off, so penalty, then roughly 40 further metres up the pitch before he realised he should shut up. After the game, their coach, who had been berating my dad throughout the whole game tried confront my dad, buuut my mum got there first and gave him a piece of her mind. Dont think that coach has ever come back to my wee town.

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Disco January 23, 2014 3:23 pm

I had a Welsh coach playing for Cambridge RUFC from U7s till U11s who would referee our games against other clubs and frequently penalise us in matches (and never the opposition) for the offense of "Dull play!"

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crazyfool333 January 23, 2014 5:56 pm

Hahaha well thats one way to make you improve, but to be fair your team is quite boring. Shelford Shelford Shelford!

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CambridgeshireKid January 24, 2014 12:16 pm

The mighty Peacocks! I think I used to have the ref in question at Hills too

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Guest 1 January 23, 2014 3:24 pm

Our team was invited to retire 40 or 50 meters in swift succession due to the abuse being hurled at the referee by a supporter. Wouldn't have minded usually but it was one of the opposition supporters!

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Guy January 23, 2014 3:35 pm

Great, great referee!

On tour in the North of England we were loosing heavily. The ref, a local player and all round top bloke, at one point started to make up reasons to disallow tries from the home team. My favourite: 'No try, penalty against you for gallery play!'

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aledgeami January 23, 2014 4:06 pm

We had a ref who was asked 'Sir, can I make a sub please?'.

The response: 'They have subs in soccer. It's replacements in rugby. Ask me properly or the change cannot be made'.

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matt January 23, 2014 5:22 pm

I read that in Nigel Owens' voice, it sounded better.

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DR93 January 23, 2014 4:34 pm

I have always been a big fan of Nigel Owens, great ref and takes no nonsense from any player.

As for one of my favourite ref moments while playing, i remember i got into a bit of handbags with another player at a ruck. Nothing at all serious just pushing and acting tough lol but then the ref just yelled loudly over everything "EITHER PUNCH EACHOTHER ALREADY OR GET ON WITH THE GAME AND STOP DISTRACTING ME" we both just chuckled and got back to the game. Best line ive heard on a pitch.

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James January 23, 2014 4:44 pm

Had a ref in a local league match who is a Gynaecology surgeon in a local hospital. When being somewhat arsey over the 10m the opposition were meant to be back from a line out, one of their centres said under their breath, obviously not quiet enough, "If I wanted a carpet fitter, I'd have phoned for one." The ref red carded him for insulting him. I don't think their player knew the refs day job either...

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finedisregard January 23, 2014 4:44 pm

I don't disagree with the sentiment but in no other sport do referees have fans.

I've noticed rugby refs are getting bigger and bigger egos and becoming a bigger part of the game. They (we, I ref youth games) are human beings that are doing a service to the game, but they shouldn't have an agenda or want to put their personal stamp on a match as they often now do. The best referee is one that you don't notice.

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Andrew Bates January 23, 2014 8:32 pm

Too right finedisregard! There's something to be said for Australian Football where referees are commonly referred to as white maggots.

That said, three of my friends are rugby referees and there's a lady referee who comes down to our club who I'd like to be more than friends with.

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DrG January 23, 2014 9:24 pm

I don't think Nigel Owens should have a following due to being a great character. I think his following should be as a result of being a GOOD referee, with a good character being the cherry on the top.

I think he's a great guy and he controls the matches well, I think his humour makes him a more likeable referee and probably one that players are more likely to listen to/respect.

Wayne Barnes is; in my opinion, a dull misery, I dislike his refereeing (probably as a result of his character) and I find that many players appear to dislike him too... (probably wrongly..)

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DanKnapp January 23, 2014 10:24 pm

This has been one of my favourite RD videos for a while, purely for all the stories people are sharing about refs. Surely that's the appeal of the ref in rugby? Owens comes across as a pretty decent bloke who you'd like to have a beer with, but everyone posting here also appreciates that most referees give up time to allow games to take place.

Fair play to you finedisregard, referees like you make it all possible.

I think fans can develop more respect for referees because we can hear their comments during the game. It helps you to understand the laws better and you can also see how things are being applied.

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DrG January 24, 2014 10:15 pm

That's sort of my point Dan. The laws of the game are for all to see, however the application of each law can often vary from referee to referee and decision to decision, so being able to hear a referee also helps you understand how he interprets the laws. I find it also helps you respect the fact that they are human when they make a mistake (especially when they explain something how they've seen it.)

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DanKnapp January 27, 2014 3:06 pm

It also helps that the people who referee at this level tend to be very eloquent in their explanations. Can't help but respect someone who understands all the laws. I certainly bloody don't.

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matt January 24, 2014 9:24 am

I like Barnes, if for no other reason than he is not afraid to make big decisions. We saw in the Sarries game on last weekend that some referees, and TMOs 'bottle it', in the words of Will Greenwood, when there's a big call to be made. Barnes never seems to be intimidated by the situation, as the 2013 premiership final showed.

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DrG January 24, 2014 11:35 am

Actually Matt, I have to agree with you on that one. He is a decent referee, I just find sometimes he makes the game drag (imo). But as you said, he is not afraid to make a big decision.

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CaliHooker January 24, 2014 11:22 am

@finedisregard there are actually plenty of refs in American Football with a pretty decent fan base because of their consistently good games. Baseball also has some really well liked umpires. It's just that in both sports the ref doesn't have an open mic all the time and you don't get to hear them railing professional athletes as much as Nigel Owens does. Rugby refs also need to talk more than any other sports ref, so some of their personality is going to leak through.

Also anyone who blasts Soccer is someone I like immediately. Not to mention I don't remember Nigel Owens missing very many calls.

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finedisregard January 24, 2014 12:44 pm

Definitely right about rugby refs talking the most.

EddieG mentions Ed Hochuli (the jacked up guy) in the nfl. Good point.

Still other than Tim Donaghy in the nba have you ever heard of an American sports ref writing and promoting an autobiography? Or have their own highlight clips? Refs should be anonymous.

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CaliHooker January 27, 2014 8:02 pm

Search on youtube for highlight clips of refs. There is a surprising amount coming from hockey and football. Sports center even had a few top tens dedicated to refs.

I'm not disagreeing with the pint that refs should try to remain anonymous because they should. I just think that if a ref gets a big name so be it, as long as he still does his job well who cares? Hochuli has grabbed some big name players by the scruff of their jerseys and thrown them back a few yards. The only real difference here is we get to hear Owens talk but not Hochuli.

Here's my main point, if the guy gets a little bit of fame and thinks he can make a few bucks with a book or some sponsorship deals who are we to say "that's improper." As long as he makes the calls right and doesn't ruin games I wouldn't care if he made some shitty reality show on the side.

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viktor77 January 23, 2014 4:48 pm

great referi... He gets better!

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Eddie-g January 23, 2014 5:07 pm

Once had a ref who at every ruck either said "don't come over the ball", or "stop coming over the ball". Eventually he penalised someone and gave him a stern lecture about the rules on coming over the ball. Not a player on either team wasn't laughing their ass off. We were teenagers, obviously. And just as obviously I still find this funny.

Fairly sure as well that Andre Watson, when a club player, was told by a referee something along the lines of "shut up unless you think you can do this job better than me." I know the 03 RWC final was not his finest hour, but you know, he was an excellent ref overall.

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Eddie-g January 23, 2014 5:16 pm

@Finedisregard - I'd disagree with your first point, American football refs have their fans (See Ed Hochuli). Umpires in cricket have their fans (Steve Bucknor, Dickie Bird, David Shepherd). Heck, even football has its popular referees (Pierre-Luigi Colina).

And I would strongly argue that these guys are popular because they are respected as referees first and foremost.

To your general point, I agree completely that refs shouldn't try to make themselves the centre of attention. Some have done so in the past (hi, Steve Walsh), but I'd never throw that accusation at Owens. Great ref, knows the laws, and his occasional banter, like this, I think is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the game.

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matt January 23, 2014 5:26 pm

Totally agree with you. Plus I think the higher profile refs become the more players can get used to their interpretations and style which should cut down the number of silly penalties that have to be given in the opening stages of matches

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stroudos January 23, 2014 8:57 pm

"Refs shouldn't try to make themselves the centre of attention. Some have done so in the past (hi, Steve Walsh), but I'd never throw that accusation at Owens."

Well, maybe with one exception!
http://www.rugbydump.com/2010/12/1740/referee-nigel-owens-tells-off-30-grown-men

I do remember Steve Walsh on at least one occasion checking his hair on the big screen. Bloody hilarious if you ask me.

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10stonenumber10 January 23, 2014 6:29 pm

"You weigh less than a tackle-bag. Being put on your arse is bad enough, no matter how ineffectual that was still a shoulder charge, take 10 minutes for your troubles." - Ref binning me for being 3rd man into a tackle with a shoulder, league style. I didn't quite see it coming and was bounced off rather humorously, but he pinged me anyway.

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stroudos January 24, 2014 7:52 am

Not an ironic username then!

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10stonenumber10 January 24, 2014 4:15 pm

I come from the Old Skool fly half mould... brilliant hands, brilliant feet, brilliant hair, can't chin a pint and usually found a country mile away from the nearest ruck.

RO'G was the last of us on the world stage. Turnstile Tens are a dying breed.

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Tony January 23, 2014 7:25 pm

Once refereed a game between ilfracombe and Bideford 1sts (1994 this was)....both scrum halves spent the first 20mins offside at every scrum.....eventually the ilfracombe scrum half came round and literally pushed the Biddeford scrum half over and picked up the ball from the scrum base, naturally the ilfracombe scrum half is bellowing at me so I blow my whistle, turn to him and say 'when you stop it I'll stop him doing it'......didn't happen again and both scrum halves shook my hand afterwards and said fair play.......friendship and camaraderie is what it's all about and the banter

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DrG January 26, 2014 3:34 am

Probably Bradley Goaman giving it mouth for Bideford I'd imagine...

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Ronan January 23, 2014 8:41 pm

I think owens should just concentrate on reffing instead of always looking for the lime light and to be a big celebrity!!!!

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DanKnapp January 25, 2014 6:34 am

From the other comments on here, looks like you're the only one who thinks Mr Owens doesn't concentrate on reffing. The general consensus seems to be that he's one of the best we've got.

Nothing wrong with him being comfortable to be the centre of attention from time to time - from time to time he WILL be the centre of attention. Better to be comfortable and not bottle big decisions because everyone is looking at him.

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ChillDoubt January 25, 2014 12:57 pm

Ronan,
Unless you are blind or a part-time fan (which I strongly suspect) you maybe didn't see the recent Autumn international between Ireland and the All Blacks.
Nige gave probably the best and most consistent display of refereeing seen in the last 10 years and was widely congratulated for it.
Why was it so good? Because the game flowed beuatifully and nobody noticed Nige until the clock went red.

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Canadian content January 23, 2014 9:27 pm

I'd agree with you, except he's currently the best the world has to offer. He refs a fair game, not like Mr Joubert. Sometimes I think he tries to be bigger than the game, but it seems like he leaves his ego behind in the big matches.

Allen had it coming, hate to see this seep into rugby.

I once lost a cup final because my the ref penalized my coach for his abuse from the sideline! They kicked a penalty, tied the game and we lost in extratime. No one on our side blamed anybody but our loadmouth coach!

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DanKnapp January 23, 2014 10:29 pm

Fair play to that referee. Big, gutsy call. I can't help but think that football could solve half of their problems in a season if they just trialled something similar. Rugby should be doing the same thing. Too many coaches are criticising referees after the game. These coaches should be getting points docked for their teams - it is bad for the game.

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ConorL January 23, 2014 11:32 pm

cough *Richard Cockerill* cough...

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TotesMcGoates January 24, 2014 1:40 am

Football's biggest problem in regard to dissent is that a yellow card means sweet eff all to the player in question. A trial of the sin bin could make a big difference.

Couldn't see it happening though...

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matt January 24, 2014 9:28 am

Football won't try anything unless it was their idea first, they are far too special for peons like us to help them.

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Thesprat January 23, 2014 11:34 pm

Playing in a vets game we had a very young ref, who was doing a good job, when a bout of handbags broke put between two props, the young lad stepped in between the two gnarled old hands and said "I might only be 15, but even I know fighting is wrong." And sent them both off. The look on the old gits faces was brilliant.

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DanKnapp January 25, 2014 6:36 am

I hope they bought him a milk in the clubhouse afterwards. Good lad.

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Jeri February 11, 2014 8:12 am

That kid had balls of steel

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Murray January 24, 2014 9:18 am

Having (legally) stepped through a ruck and hooked my foot around the ball an opposition player decided to unload a barrage of uppercuts. A teammate drew this to the refs attention who then commented "It's OK they're not landing". I disagreed with his assessment.......
Also played an U19 pre-season game that got super niggly with the usual teenage testosterone issues the ref lined both teams (incl reserves) up on either side of halfway and made us all do 20 press-ups, comical to see.

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Edd January 24, 2014 10:16 am

And then the following day he was refereeing an Under-12s game back in Wales: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/world-class-ref-nigel-owens-6551691

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rugbyfun44 January 24, 2014 11:01 am

So rare! Nigel owens trying to be the center of attention

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Guest January 24, 2014 8:38 pm

Before a school game the ref called me and the opposition captain for the coin toss and said, "tits or arse?" He then held out his novelty coin and said, "So what do you want? Tits or arse?" As a sixteen year old I was pretty surprised!

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DrG January 24, 2014 10:28 pm

... I few years back I was half asleep during an opposition 22, they decided to kick it high and towards the nice gap I SHOULD have been covering. I suddenly noticed and started charging towards where the ball was going to land only to realise that the opposition 8 was going to get their first, so I made the decision then and there, that I was going to flatten the guy, he jumped for the ball, caught it, as soon as his feet hit the deck I clattered him (and it was a great tackle if I say so myself). I heard the roar/groans from the crowd and then felt the headlock I was in as this 8 took exception to the tackle.. We scored as a result of his knock on, and by the time we'd both agreed to let each other go the referee was standing over us and said "now that you've finished cuddling each other after that cracking tackle perhaps we can get on with the game!"

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Iain January 26, 2014 3:23 am

in a game where the oppositions 7 had caused three stoppages for injuries inflicted by punches the reff said to him "I don't know what you're doing, but no one like it. If you get hit again, you're off".

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AllintheMemory January 26, 2014 9:32 am

Guy's comment about the penalty for playing to the gallery reminded me of a game many years ago in south London. My team (Medway) were giving a young college side a bit of a hammering and at outside centre I had already clocked up two tries. As I was running in clear under the posts for my third try I looked around for a support runner and passed to my wing who went in for the try. The ref pinged me and awarded a penalty to the college side, his ruling (correct as it happens) was that I was only trying to avoid having to buy a jug of beer for scoring a hat-trick!

Rugby and cricket are two games that create the greatest camaraderie and humour!

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DrG January 26, 2014 7:07 pm

Referee didn't say anything to me but the sheer lunacy of the outcome had me gob smacked... I was playing 7's and we were steam rolling the opposition, I got the ball and had a clear space to run so I set off charging...

..into my view came a very very small player who looked like they'd rather not be there, and being a dick I thought charging at them would be the best option.. as I neared this guy, he stepped out the way, naturally I was chuffed, I'd just scared away their player, until his leg shot out as I ran past and kicked me square in the balls...

I staggered to the try line - the try was awarded - a cold 'magic' sponge came over to me - the player was pulled over by the referee who said 'If you do anything like that again, you'll be off!'

Meanwhile me nursing my aching testicles was left feeling severely cheated by the lack of justice!!!

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Guest January 28, 2014 4:04 pm

My old man was captain of our club 2nd team - but "only when his legs went", apparently. Anyway, he was trying to defend a player of his who was about to be sent off for punching.

"It wasn't even him ref!" cried my Dad, a speedy winger and sometime makeshift outside-half.

"Wasn't it?" The ref said, "Ah well. You'll do. Off you go."

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Scott H February 07, 2014 3:25 pm

We once had a retired prop-turned-ref do one of our matches against the cross-town rivals. Both teams were up for a heated battle, and tempers overflowed on a couple of occasions. At one scrum, the far flanker took the opportunity to punch the opposing prop, knowing that the ref would not be able to see. TWEEEEET-"I well know the sound of a fist hitting a meaty set of jowls! Somebody's got a red cheek and somebody else is going off!" Flanker was carded and jogged off with a stunned look. Lovely.

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Banjora Bob February 12, 2014 2:26 pm

I have been sent off twice playing rugby over the years and in both cases the refs explanation was brilliant.

First time, I was playing on the wing, as is the case with small town rugby, I knew my opposition winger quite well as we had tussled on both the rugby and GAA pitches several times. We both had been told off already during the game by the ref and in the second half I tackled the winger into touch just as he kicked ahead. While we started having another 'conversation' on the ground, the ref ran passed us trying to keep up with play, he waved a red card shouted "I am sick of you two so you can stay where you are!!". The supporters loved it and we could do nothing but laugh.

The second time, I was on the bench for the 2nds team as they were missing a few players with the understanding that I would only play is needed (sore body from playing 1st the day before and a horrible hangover). With the game nearly finished, our full-back got thumped, lost a couple of teeth and was helped off - I went on. The game continued for a couple of minutes when suddenly our full-back (revived with smelling salts) ran back on and started into the player who hit him. Chaos ensued and when the ref eventually got control again he was furious that sending out full-back off would have no effect. So the ref called me over and rather apologetically said "Sorry son, but I have to send someone off and you were the one who came on for that idiot". I got a red card without touching the ball, making a tackle or even saying anything. Give my rather delicate state I wasn't all that bothered.

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