Don’t Bother Ref (With The TMO) – I Dropped It
Last weekend Saracens were away to Harlequins at the Stoop. Stadium. After about 20 minutes with the score at 3-3, there was a ruck close to the ‘Quins’ line and England rugby superstar, Billy Vunipola, having gathered the ball, instead of taking the usual route around the side of the ruck, chose to dive over the top of the bodies involved and seemed to touch down and score a try.
The referee and the touch judges couldn’t see from the touchline. So, Luke Pearce, the ref, made the signal for the TMO to help with the decision.
“Don’t bother, ref, I dropped it” says Billy Vunipola
“Thank you, No. 8” says Luke Pearce and signals for the drop-out (restart without any try being scored).
A simple and brief conversation but refreshing to hear.
In the 2nd half Vunipola did score a try and Saracens won the game 25-20. Vunipola got the ‘Man of the Match’ award for his all-round play but hopefully, his first half gesture had been noticed.
In an era where cricketers, when at bat, do not walk, and when in the field, appeal everything, where footballers dive weekly, where tennis players argue every ball whether ‘in’ or ‘out’, it is gratifying to notice that for a brief moment on a rainy, windy day, on a rugby pitch in South West London, ‘Sportsmanship’ had returned.
Congrats Billy Vunipola. Thanks to Des O’Brien for alerting me & Don/Robbo for paraphrasing the Royal blackheathrugby.co.uk newsletter article ‘Cometh the Hour, cometh the Man (of the Match)’ (apparently this was forwarded from an unknown source at the Royal Blackheath Golf Club. Thank you brothers for highlighting this inspirational story.
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