Legend former referee Nigel Owens has slammed modern-day officials for being ‘too chummy’ with players, and says it must end.
Looking ahead to the start of the 2022 Six Nations, the Welshman has identified this as the reason for growing dissent from players towards officials.
He wrote in his column for The Telegraph: “An area that needs to be addressed, and it is not a major issue yet but has been creeping in over recent months, is the amount referees talk to players.
I’m expecting all the referees to clamp down on foul play, on the contact area – particularly to produce quick ball for an attacking game – and on offsides in order to create more space, particularly with players being in front of kicks.
We are seeing more of referees going ‘don’t do that, mate’, which makes players feel: ‘I am speaking to my mate here, I can say whatever I want’. I would like to see less of that, and it’s why a hint of dissent has come into the game recently. Communication is important, but it does not have to be constant. Less is often more. There is no need for a debate on the field.
There is plenty of experience among the Six Nations referees for 2022 – led by Jaco Peyper and Wayne Barnes – and then another group catching up to those two in Matthew Carley, Luke Pearce, Mathieu Raynal, Ben O’Keeffe and Andrew Brace. Then there are the new names: Mike Adamson, Nika Amashukeli from Georgia, Damon Murphy from Australia who used to play Seve