I can hardly believe it! Mr. Beven is not going to be Refereeing the 6 Nations. Who else can piss off people like he could? That aside, there is another issue... a more surprising one you might think. Why did Mr. Beven retire from International Refereeing just when he was starting to come right!!
What the hell have I been smoking?!?
No, really! I watched Mr. Beven's last game and was quickly amazed at his performance. This time in a positive way! You may well have watched the game as well. It was Australian vs. South Africa, in the first semi-final of the RWC .
It was really quite a good game, significantly better that the one the following day (don't get me started). And Mr. Beven played his part in it; calling for quicker lineout throws, dealing quickly with back chat, warning people before penalising them, and even playing good advantage.
He dealt with an inter-forward punch-up, with: "Tell me that'll the end of it!"
"Most inventive!" I thought at the time, and suitable for the occasion. All in all, he gave a performance that was as extremely good, as it was extremely unlike him.
Darn it! He spent 26 years as an International Referee, and holds the record for number of International appointments, and he finally gets it right in the last game!
This is the same man that I ripped to bits during the Tri Nations, whom I accused of being the worst of a bad bunch! How is it possible that this man could transform himself so radically?
I think it was clever computer graphics! They placed Mr. Beven's head on a NZ refs body. In fact I would like to think that they did this in a couple of other games as well, as this might explain how the NZ refs kept on stuffing up!
However there was one thing that signaled that it was Mr. Beven in this game. It was the panting!
At first I couldn't work out where the heavy breathing was coming from. I thought some clever bastard had a directional microphone trained on the forewards. But after a while I realised that it was Mr. Beven. The poor guy was having a bit of trouble keeping up with all those fit young athletes. Either that, or the technician who had mic'ed him up had done a lousy job.
No doubt this is the real reason why Mr. Beven is retiring. It must be hard enough to keep up with a Northern Hemisphere game. A game featuring two Southern Hemisphere teams would tire out Steve Gurney!
As we look ahead to a new Century of Rugby, I would like to salute Mr. Beven. You gave me something to write about most of last year. Thanks for the inspiration - all the new, visually splendid, and vindictive phrases I had to develop for you during the Tri Nations.
But most importantly, thanks for playing such a blinder in your last game.
However we like to take it:
That old dogs CAN learn new tricks...
That there is ALWAYS hope for improvement...
That British Referees are capable of ENJOYING Rugby!!!
it was a positive sign, displayed during what was obviously a great personal moment, as well as during one the Rugby's greatest spectacles.
Now, Mr. Beven, if you could just have a word in Andre Watson's ear...