Even the Kiwis think that Dickinson is a knob

You know it is bad when even the Kiwi’s are jumping on the bandwagon and complaining about “the Dick” who blew the whistle in the match between the Reds and the Crusaders.  Hell – hasn’t any one been paying attention to Big Daddy Rugby?  Must the story be broken by stuff.co.nz to be taken seriously?

“After the shockingly inept performance by the Aussie whistle-blower in Sunday’s 17-16 defeat for the Crusaders against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane, he has again found himself at the centre of controversy.

Rugby at this level shouldn’t be about the refs. Occasionally they have big calls to make and can influence the outcome of games with their decisions at the end of tight contests – fair enough. But they shouldn’t stamp their mark all over matches the way Dickinson did on Sunday in front of a full house. And they most certainly shouldn’t get it as badly wrong as the officious Aussie did, ruining a splendid game of rugby between two of the elite teams in this competition.”

Stuart Dickinson. What a knob.

Amen,Marc Hinton. Now if you’d just admit that once in a while Richie McCaw does actually infringe at the ruck, we’d have even more in common. The full article is available from stuff.co.nz here.

Vintage Stuart Dickinson makes another game “about him”

Dickinson contemplating how best to screw up the game he is officiating.

Early warning to readers – I haven’t had my customary post Stormers loss “cooling off period” before I wrote this piece. Stuart Dickinson is a name that lives infamy for most South African rugby fans.  It’s fair to say he rivals Malema in unpopularity in some parts of the republic. Dickinson has been at the hands of a many a shocking call going back to the early days of Super rugby, even calling 16 consecutive penalties against the Stormers and none for them in a memorable Dickinson performance several years ago.  Dickinson has lost none of his charm since then.

Cut to the Waikato game today where the Stormers were in cruise control up 20-3 against a Chiefs team that looked tired and jaded. Aplon and Kahui were in a chase for the ball in the in-goal area, with Aplon holding his line and appearing to hold onto Kahui as he dove for the ball.

Now I am as biased as anyone out there, but even the kiwi commentators were saying it was touch and go whether or not a penalty try could be awarded.  The irritating part of this TMO decision was that when it was referred to the television ref, Dickinson practically got on his knees and begged the TMO to give him a reason to give Aplon a yellow. Not once.  Twice.  He reminded the TMO that he was looking for another incident in addition to the try.  The result was a yellow for Aplon and a penalty try (talk about double jeopardy) and even more of a points swing during the 10 minute sin-bin.

The Stormers 2nd half performance (throwing away a 20-3 lead) was dismal enough on its own to deserve the loss. Dickinson doesn’t get full credit for the choke, the halfback combination of the Stormers was also woeful. But Dickinson is the kind of guy that brings out the worst in rugby fans.

The really irritating thing about his performance was not only this incident, or that when Peter Grant received a massive “no-arms” early hit he only blew a penalty, but it is the way that Dickinson, like Wayne Barnes, needs to feel like he has made an impact on the game.  He has the look of one of those refs that isn’t happy unless the camera is on him making the big decisive calls and asserting his authority Eric Cartman-like on the game (respect-my-authoritah!).

What rubbed salt into the wounds was that, as followthebounce correctly tweeted, you could just imagine Arnold Geerts in the Supersport studio drooling at the prospect of being able to call it “a game of two halves”.  Cut to studio, hey presto and Arnold did not disappoint.  I hate to be “one of those fans”, but seriously – Dickinson cocked this game up.

Refs like this really ruin games from being a spectacle about players to a spectacle about the correctness or incorrectness of their calls.  Well done Stuart – you managed yet again to make a good game about you rather than about rugby.

For the record – the Stormers went on to lose 23-30.

Mark Lawrence left out in the cold

I know I’m a little late out of the blocks with this post but regardless Big Daddy Rugby would like to express their complete disgust at the recent announcement that Mark Lawrence will not be refereeing at the World Cup later this year.

The “Leading Man” of rugby referees is being left at home. “Crouch, touch, pause, engage” will never sound the same again.

What makes the IRB’s decision even more galling is that they have decided to up the ante when it comes to pure comedy by giving Steve “make mine a double” Walsh the nod. Yep, Steve’s going to be there, but Mark’s not.

Not only is Lawrence a good ref, but his rapport with the players on the field is second to none. You never see him getting flustered or speaking to the players like they’re children (ala Johnny Kaplan). He’s cool, calm and collected, something the IRB reckons isn’t necessary for this World Cup.

This is a massive loss for the tournament and rugby lovers in general, so as a tribute to Mark, here are 5 facts about the man that you probably didn’t know:

Mark Lawrence has never eaten at the Spur

Mark Lawrence’s favourite album is “If you can’t stand the heat” by Status Quo

Mark Lawrence auditioned for the role of Dr Gregory House for the hit TV show “House”

Mark Lawrence had his heart broken by a girl named “Florine” in Brussels back in ’93

Mark Lawrence has the phrase “Courage doesn’t always roar” tattooed on his left shoulderYou’ll be sorely missed Mark, but you’ll always be in our hearts, World Cup 2011 ref or not.

Mark Lawrence. Admit it, you probably would...