Television viewers and fans with earphones in the ground can pick up what referees say, or what they hear nearby – which produced some gold at the start of the Six Nations
What we heard on the ref mic in Round One of the Six Nations
The opening round of the 2019 Six Nations did not disappoint, with Wales snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in Paris, Blair Kinghorn scoring a hat-trick against Italy and England and Ireland putting on a monstrous display.
There are always other little moments to enjoy (or scream in anger) about during the Six Nations, as well as these big, match-defining moments. Let’s take a minute to appreciate the glory of the ref mic.
During all Six Nations matches, the referee has a microphone attached to them. That means you can hear the ref interact with the other match officials – like the TMO, for example. You can also hear what the players say directly to, or near, the referee.
Not only that, but you can hear the sound of collisions, bodies and ball hitting the ground and also crowd noises.
Some of you love this – or at least are very aware of what is being picked up (of course swearing, like Peter O’Mahony’s use of the C-word on Saturday are unavoidable sometimes)!
But what is most important is what is being said by those out on the grass. Here are just a few examples of things overheard in the heat of the battle.
Let’s look at England’s muscular win over Ireland in Dublin, first. These are two of the nuggets picked up:
Excitement? Breathlessness? Well it was a fitting fixture for that.
Earlier in the day Italy visited Murrayfield for something of a Six Nations try-fest and as our own Alan Dymock picked up, Azzurri skipper Sergio Parisse was not impressed when a ball was slapped down by a Scots player and only a penalty was awarded by official Luke Pearce.
Some felt the referee struggled with the Test, however there was room for a little levity when the pressure was on…
And then there was Wales’ visit to Paris. The game will be defined by Yoann Huget’s howler to allow George North to score a vital try. However, referee Wayne Barnes had to keep busy.
With the French dominating proceedings in the first half, the ref had to tell the hosts “we need tempo in this game,” as they took an age to kick a drop-out 22. Later he had to explain why a Ross Moriarty try was denied after Alun Wyn Jones was adjudged to have obstructed in the build-up.
Barnes also had to channel the TMO and talk to the teams when they decided that Louis Picamoles had done enough to knock the ball out of “his left arm; he’s lost it.”
There will be plenty more refereeing decisions to pick over in the coming weeks. There will undoubtedly be some funny stuff picked up by the mics too.
Bring on the next round of the Six Nations.