Irish referee Dave McHugh will make his return to rugby in the Celtic League clash between Neath and Llanelli at The Gnoll on 14 September
Irish referee Dave McHugh will make his return to rugby in the Celtic League clash between Neath and Llanelli at The Gnoll on 14 September.
And the man who hit the sporting headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons during the Tri-Nations match between the Springboks and the All Blacks in Durban last month has been guaranteed a safe passage in Wales.
South African fan, Pieter van Zyl, dislocated the 44-year-old McHugh’s shoulder when he ran onto the field at Kings Park to tackle the referee. Since then McHugh has spent the past month regaining his fitness and confidence.
“We’re delighted David’s returning to action at the Gnoll,” said Neath coach Lyn Jones. “We’ll give him a good old-fashioned Gnoll welcome. He won’t have any trouble with our fans – they’ll be too happy after we beat Llanelli for the first time in four years!”
And Jones has promised that Neath will “inflict the strongest punishment possible” on any fan who touches a referee at any game this season.
“It’s a sad reflection on the sport when a ref has to be regularly escorted off the field by police,” said Jones.
“The referee is only doing his job – he calls it how he sees it. Sometimes he’s wrong, but it evens out over both sides by the end of the game.”
McHugh will make his return to the international stage on 23 November when he takes charge of the game between France and Canada. That will be his 24th Test – breaking the Irish record held by Kevin Kelleher for almost 30 years.