Friday, June 27, 2008

SPORTSHYPE: Rugby Refereeing - Not For Sissies!

The game of rugby always needs more referees. Your local union would almost certainly welcome your interest!

However, in addition to the benefits (exercise, keeping you out of the pub on Saturdays, developing management skills, camaraderie), there are a couple of hazards that go with being a rugby referee. In addition to the number of players the game's single referee has to manage (30), s/he has to be careful of swinging legs at the tackle, and also has to stay out of the way in general. Keeping up with play is a full-time job though, so occasionally bad things can happen.

The lead picture - click it to see the larger version - shows French referee Christophe Berdos after a head-to-head collision in a Heineken Cup match (Leinster-Gloucester on 2006-10-21). Here's another one showing the aftermath, and another showing him being helped off the pitch.

Have a look at a few video clips below that showcase these dangers. You can also find more at Rugby Dump. The first one shows the Berdos incident in great detail, and was put together by the IRB:

Next up is an amateur contest in Biarritz, France, which leaves the ref with a broken nose:

Then there's the non-systematic risk, if you will. Every now and then a crazed supporter decides that s/he doesn't like the way the game is being called, and goes after the ref. Here's David McHugh getting attacked by a guy twice his size (resulting in a separated shoulder) while refereeing the Springboks vs. the All Blacks in South Africa:

However, at most levels, the enjoyment people get from refereeing is palpable. Especially compared with other sports. Check out this English guy's story about why he stopped refereeing football (soccer) in favor of the oval ball code:

Here's a perfect example from an English Premiership match - the two team captains get into a shouting match in front of the referee about whether or not a try was scored. They are quickly put in their places, calmly and surely. Note that they stop arguing immediately:

If you're interested, leave a comment and we can put you in touch with the right people in your area. The Daily Hype has a global audience, so it wouldn't make much sense to put more than a couple of links here. However, the first link in this article is to the RFU referee recruitment site (England), and here's a similar one for the USA Rugby local referee organizations.

There's also other rugby hype on offer here at The Daily Hype.

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