Six Nations Donkey Awards: Round 4.
The penultimate round of the six nations donkey awards should really be renamed ‘the referee special’ – for it was the men in the middle and their contributions which dominated proceedings this weekend!
1. I’m a Frenchman…No I’m Not…Honest…
Alain Rolland, what a curse it is for this man to be able to speak French. This linguistic skill often means that the Irish man is given the responsibility for overseeing any fixture involving France and, due to his family lineage, usually means that the slightest of dubious calls means that he is seen as a crooked French fancying farce of an impartial official. Unfortunately for Rolland, few of his actions do anything to dispel such notions. Few rugby fans will have forgotten Rolland’s interesting decision to banish Sam Warburton from the rugby world cup – and on that day there were no shortage of fans questioning how a half French man could be trusted to referee a game involving the French. Yet, the Warburton red card could be put down to a one off and no more. That was of course until today. EyeOnWales, unsurprisingly given the name of this blog, is rarely a friend to the English – but even we could see that Rolland was having yet another ‘friend of the French’ day, as decision after decision went the way of the home team. Little made sense about Rolland’s calls and interventions, but when he sin binned the English winger, while ignoring the same offence from the French, surely all sense of doubt was removed – this man is without a doubt the single most corrupt official in the rugby world, and is fully deserving of his donkey points.
Donkey Score: 5
2. The Duff official from Bruff RFC.
Not a weekend for Irish officials was it? In Paris we had a one eyed Frenchman hiding under an Irish accent, while in Cardiff we had a man who clearly woke up with a ‘look at me’ day on his mind. George Clancy has performed reasonably well in previous years, and has not given fans that much reason to complain of late – however, as thousands packed into the Millennium Stadium to enjoy a festival of running rugby, Clancy decided that what the fans really wanted to see, was a man with a whistle single handedly destroying an afternoon of international rugby. Pedant was the word of the weekend, and few descriptive terms would summarise Clancy’s efforts better than that. It’s one thing for a team to be negative, it’s quite another for a referee to encourage them to be negative – Clancy, you did your best to foul a weekend, and were only outshone by the spectacular one-eyed nature of your countryman.
Donkey Score: 4
3. Noisy Journeyman Draws Attention to Himself.
Ah Austin Healey, known for shooting his mouth off at any given opportunity, regardless of who might be offended. There has been long standing animosity between Healey and the Welsh rugby community, but in a moment of drunken tweeting, Healey took his mad as a hatter ranting to a whole new level. Engaged in an argument over whether or not Leigh Halfpenny should have been sent off for a rash challenge in the second half against Italy, Healey at one point suggested, well, you can see for yourself below:
A stellar moment of alcohol driven insults on display from a man who defined the term ‘journeyman’ during his fragmented professional career. A bitter angry little man, Healey at the very least serves to play the entertaining clown on a rugby weekend – though perhaps his language could be toned down in the future…?
Donkey Score: 4
4. On a wing and a punch.
It seems only a matter of time before Chris Ashton just runs up and punches someone, possibly a referee, in the face. The wayward English wing seems so devoid of confidence and opportunities on the field that aggression is the only tool he has left. We were half expecting him to chase down the lone cockerel running along the touchline in Paris today and twat it in the beak, just for something to do. Extreme perhaps, but you get the feeling that Ashton is not far off it. Something is seriously wrong with the state of Ashton’s mind, and you get the impression that it would be a favour to him to be ‘rested’ for the game against Ireland. Against the French, Ashton’s increasingly short fuse was clearly tested – the Irish coach will have been watching!
Donkey Score: 1