Now, I guess we don’t see enough of these in “professional” sport especially from us match officials, but yesterday I apologised to the coach and Chief Exec of the losing side in my game. I did so wholeheartedly and I do so again now should they happen to be reading.

I had done something inexcusable – I ended the game on a law error.

The game status was this – Home 16 v Visitors 21 as my watch nears time up. Had been a cracking game – no controversy, the sides had created the scoreline from some really good attacking and some stout defending.

Home side attacking scrum 5m out and 5m from the touch line. Scrum set and engaged. Watch beeps – time up.  

Home side put in and win scrum, it moved towards goal line and then hookers emerge up from the middle. No penalty spotted. Blow whistle – “popped up, reset…. time’s up” full time whistle.

Oh dear. TJ says in my ear – that was a big call ending it like that. Doubt starts to well up.  Home coach politely enquires as to what I have done. I explain and we move inside. Tunnel andthanks all round.

Refs changing room – we discuss whether it is urban myth or in law. I think urban myth. Scrum has engaged, and passage of play (albeit ball still in) ensued. Consult good book, which is absolutely crystal clear. The set scrum and lineout must “be completed” before full time can be blown. Shit shit shit shit shit!!

Shower, get dressed and go in and speak to home coach. I hold my hands up, apologise and he accepts with good grace and appreciates my honesty.

Would they have scored? I doubt it (no tries score by them in 2nd half, and I dont recall them getting close to doing so (DVD may prove otherwise)). But should they have had the opportunity to get 5 points (for a draw) and another 2 points (for the win) – yes they should. I stopped that. I have no excuses.

Also explain to visitors coach who is grateful for me admitting error. Phone call to Panel Manager to admit mea cupla – before he hears it from anyone else. As you can imagine – that was a fun phonecall.

Cue – a few hours of me beating myself up. Was it concentration? Absolutely not. I was so concious given the scoreline that I had to stay well on top of the game.  I just didn’t know that bit of law. Im now operating at Division 1 and that just isn’t good enough. I know that, and while others may not tell me that, I know that is what they would (and should) be thinking.

Will it happen again? Not on your life. And my error will be all over the Panel by midweek so the will be damn sure they all know it now. Hey ho. My loss of face – everyone else’s gain! 

My two mantras – “no controversey” and “accept and move on”. One of them is blown. The other – a struggle.

On the plus side – really good game and assessor generally very happy. Does that help? Not much. 

Onwards and upwarsds – let’s see what the next batch of appointments brings.

Have a good week


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  1. Good on you for holding your hands up. A couple of points; I think LW were very happy to be within 5 points of Exeter. The supporters at LW are some of the most critical of referees anywhere, this coupled with them not knowing the Laws nearly as well as they think they do and they still didn’t twig your error is a good thing. No one was talking about in the bar on Saturday and the chat board is still silent on the matter.
    The promise of the beer sometime and I won;t post a link to your site ;-))

  1. Returning to the scene of the crime « RefBlog – Views from a Rugby Referee

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