‘Whistleblower’ is David Matthews, a long serving honorary

life member of the club .

He was President of Lancashire County RFU for 2014/2015

He enjoyed twenty years on the RFU Referee List, including two seasons on the International Panel between 1992-94. This also comprised Assistant Referee duties and work as Television Match Official for eleven years

 to 2012.

The men in the middle gain top marks

In praise of the Six Nations officials

The refereeing in the 2017 Six Nations has been good. Before anyone blames referee Wayne Barnes for the twenty-minute fiasco which concluded the France v Wales game, he deserves the highest praise for calmly not adding yet more controversy.

Imagine if he had mercifully ended the nonsense by awarding a penalty try to France. The 'extra time' was not added time; with seconds of normal time remaining, the first of a string of penalties to France launched a unique period of play which threw up all kinds of questions. You can only just call it 'play' because the script was painfully predictable: scrum, collapse, penalty, ball held up over the line, another scrum, another penalty, and on it went. I would love to know what exactly was going through Wayne Barnes' mind, but there would be something along the lines of "you lot are not convincing me that a try is likely, “with the seeds of doubt already having been planted that France were pulling a fast one; it involved the eventually successful attempt to return their star prop to the action after claiming that the player who had already come on needed to be replaced because of injury. This, too, prolonged the agony.

Overall, (with one notable exception) there was a genuine desire to play rugby throughout the Championship, to which the referees responded with a sympathetic approach to what teams were trying to achieve. It may not have been an entertaining encounter but Romain Poite produced one of the best one line retorts ever when questioned about the infamous "ruck thing" in the England v Italy shemozzle. Be sure, there will be more to come on this and the fun and games in Paris. It has taken a long time to convince me about a crucial development which dawned during the Autumn internationals and the Six Nations: never mind police officers looking younger, referees and their assistants definitely are, which gives more credence to the belief that 'it's a young man's game.' At last we have evidence that good enough can mean old enough.

In the weird but not very wonderful game in France there was a further curious distraction when George North appealed to the referee that he had been bitten on the arm. Could there be anything else still to come that might test the referee's wits? Only the winning try for France - you wonder whether Wayne Barnes must have been thinking by then "I've really had enough of this, let's get off before the bar closes."



Archive Whistleblower