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Best gets a taste of how frustrating our refs can be

By Declan Bogue

There was Ireland rugby captain Rory Best, perplexed and frustrated at Malakai Fekitoa's second try for New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday.

His attempts to discuss it with referee Jaco Peyper proved unsuccessful.

"I went up to him and said, 'please look at it'," said Best afterwards.

"He said, 'I have a team upstairs and I can't be seen to give under pressure to the captain'.

"I replied there was a lot at stake over this try. One needs to feel that we have a chance on important calls like that."

To which the GAA world can only say, 'ah, there you are Rory, come on in. We've been here for ages'.

In the professional era, rugby's appeal has broadened out from its traditional hinterlands. Quite a few GAA followers are smitten with how it appeals to those who are taken with brute strength, while others can appreciate the lines players run to create space.

It's also led to a small bit of naval-gazing in other areas, and for fans to ask how the captains can conduct a respectful dialogue with a referee, when the very thought of it would leave a GAA official requiring smelling salts.

A few weeks ago, former Antrim player Tony Scullion was given a red card in an Ulster Club game. He described his appeals for an explanation as follows: "You can't talk to any referee on the field. They won't talk to you.

"At times, you might ask them, not being mouthy or vocal about it. You come to them in confidence, quietly, in a nice manner to ask exactly why they turned that over, and they just shrug their shoulders as if to say, 'I am the boss here. F*** you'.

"I asked (the referee) exactly why I got my second yellow card, and his reply was, 'Bye-bye'.

"I went to the linesman off the field - again, mannerly - and I asked, 'what exactly was that for?' And he said, 'Cheerio'."

Rory, we in the GAA feel your pain towards Peyper. We have been suffering with insecure referees for years.

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