A Ref Never Changes Their Mind

Listening to the experience of a former international rugby captain (robbed of his position after a tabloid sting back in the day), he tut-tutted at hearing his modern-day counterpart telling a referee that they’d got a decision wrong.

To précis, his wisdom can be summed up as;

rather than tell the ref they’ve made a bad call, much better to ask them a question, sow a seed of doubt that will then more likely gain you a marginal call later in the game.

I instantly took to this. After all, ‘selling isn’t telling’.

In this context, ‘wrong’ penalty calls shouldn’t garner an exclamation like, ‘but he wasn’t off his feet, Ref!’

But become rather something more like, ‘are you sure he wasn’t still on his feet there, Ref, hey?’

Prospects don’t like to be told either.

‘What you’ve got in place now is gonna collapse’, tends not to lead them towards your rebuilding plan.

When queries such as ‘is it creaking’, ‘what might test stability’, or ‘you could carry on for a while though, right?’ are all better ways of pushing you forward.

Well spotted, Ref.

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