Rugby World - - FRONT ROW -

RE­MEM­BER MY first game in charge as a ref when the new law came in that touch­judges could in­ter­vene, writes for­mer Test ref­eree Derek Bevan.

I was in Pon­ty­pool Park for a Welsh Cup quar­ter-fi­nal. The ground was packed. I’d never seen it so full and the at­mos­phere was fan­tas­tic. There was a li­ne­out; Bob Norster won the ball for Cardiff and the play moved on.

As I moved with it I could hear – and feel! – the crowd start to boo and shout in con­dem­na­tion. I turned around to see Ed­die But­ler and John Scott, two in­ter­na­tional No 8s, eye­balling and scuf­fling with each other.

I re­mem­bered that I was now able to call on my touch­judges to ask what had hap­pened as I hadn’t seen any­thing.

On they both came. One said that But­ler had started the fight. The other said that Scott had thrown the first punch. They were both adamant they had seen ev­ery­thing, but they gave me two op­pos­ing ac­counts.

What was I to do?

In the end I turned to them both and said: “Lis­ten boys, we’re in Pon­ty­pool Park. It’s a cup game. One player is a Welsh­man, the other is an English­man. There are 16,000 peo­ple here. It’s a penalty to Pon­ty­pool.”

And that’s how it was. I had a stand­ing ova­tion from the home fans! As we walked off the pitch at the end, John Scott turned to me and said: “That was a good home de­ci­sion, wasn’t it?”

“Too right it was,” I replied. No point deny­ing the ob­vi­ous.

From Derek and Nigel: Two Heads, One Tale, pub­lished by Y Lolfa, RRP £7.99.


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