Referee's calls music to the ears


Blaring music in the changing room has been a feature of professional rugby but it emerged this week that Munster use an iPod for a more practical purpose.

Munster, and in particular World Cup winning prop BJ Botha, got pinged four times in the scrum in the opening 12 minutes of their win over Edinburgh at the weekend.

Trying to second-guess referees when setting the scrum has become one of the banes of the modern game, but Munster are now using an iPod in a bid to overcome the difficulty.

Hooker Mike Sherry said that they receive the audio of the referee’s previous games and play it when they are practising scrums. “We have the calls from his last match sent out to us over audio so we try to judge off that. We play it over an iPod down by the scrum machine to get our timing off that, so we study what the ref has done and what his penalties are, what he’s hot on at the moment,” said Sherry.

The 24-year old said that Botha was fuming over the early penalty decisions which saw him pick up a yellow card.

“I was going to ask him about it but decided not to, Wuan du Preez pulled me back and said ‘Don’t!’ But it was one of those things, four penalties in the first 12 minutes, sure he’s disappointed, there are different interpretations, we had a chat this week and we’re trying to rectify that,” said Sherry.

He wants Munster to build on their win over Edinburgh when they travel to play Scarlets tomorrow, having been turned over 13-6 by them in Musgrave Park in November.

“We’re down the internationals although so are others so it’s a time for guys to step up and make calls for selection,” added the Limerick man.

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