Ref­eree’s night­mare

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Sports -

“So,” be­gan Frank Mur­phy’s tor­rid night on the whis­tle, “what we have is 10 and six on the ground.”

“Tackle by red,” says touch judge Johnny Ersk­ine. “Blue 10 re­acts. Throws a punch. Check the point of con­nec­tion.”

No of­fi­cial es­capes this game un­scathed. It was men­tioned enough by Le­in­ster sup­port­ers that the 37-year-old Cork ref­eree was a Mun­ster player (Alain Rol­land be­ing the im­me­di­ate re­sponse) but re­ally the for­mer scrumhalf’s ca­reer peaked at Con­nacht af­ter two years with Le­ices­ter. And any­way, the ref nowa­days is only as good as his or her touch judges and Tele­vi­sion Match Of­fi­cial. That is rugby’s ul­ti­mate dif­fi­culty - of­fi­cials are changed week to week, and they are in com­pe­ti­tion with each other, so con­sis­tent team work can never ce­ment.

Mur­phy did his best to keep yel­low and red cards out of sight. He re­ally did. For ex­am­ple: only warn­ing Johnny Sex­ton for slap­ping Fi­neen Wy­cher­ley across the face with Fi­neen Wy­cher­ley’s scrum cap and seek­ing to cat­e­gorise James Lowe tak­ing out An­drew Con­way in mid air as a “def­i­nite yel­low” be­fore the re­play left no choice but to bran­dish red. By then all hell had bro­ken loose. Mur­phy’s clear and com­mon sense com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Sex­ton broke down af­ter Cian Healy walked on 16 min­utes.

Here’s an idea: turn the of­fi­cials into gangs of four. Only a gen­uine team (of of­fi­cials) can be ex­pected to keep a lid on the mad­ness.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.