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Budweiser Tag: Referee Spotlight

Budweiser Tag: Referee Spotlight

A key element of Budweiser Tag is the standard of officials with all fixtures overseen by officially qualified and sanctioned tag referees, which is highlighted by the endorsement of top Irish referee, Alain Rolland. This week we feature Joe Widger, a referee in the Waterpark RFC venue.

Name: Joe Widger

Age: 34

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Started playing rugby at 16. Played at all levels with Waterpark RFC, highest achievement was winning AIB League Division 3. Working as a Maintenance Technician for Abbott Vascular Clonmel and part time butcher in family business in Waterford. 

I married Marie this year on May 24th, a date I can easily remember for anniversaries! (A munster man getting married the day of the final – Shocking: Ed.) We met in Waterpark RFC where Marie plays on the women’s team.

How did you get into refereeing? 
I was asked by a friend while playing tag rugby to help them get off the ground the first year the IRFU ran a tag rugby competition. Since then it has gone from strength to strength with more and more teams becoming involved every year.

Advice for players?
No backchat and listen to the referee. He/she can see can see what’s going on around the pitch, most of the time and will always try to give advice to each team to make it a more enjoyable game for both sides. 

Most abusive thing anyone has ever said to you while refereeing?
Never anything serious during a match, just a few funny remarks from players and the usual comments from the sideline that all refs have to put up with like “are you blind ref! that was forward!” and “what in God’s name is he doing out there?”

Dream game to referee?
Munster v New Zealand

Favourite Referee?
Michael McCarthy, strict but fair. Imposes his presence on each match.

Favourite Rugby Player? 
Munster’s Anthony Foley, his leadership and strength on the field was second to none.

Toughest call you ever made? 
During an exciting close game having to disallow a try at the end of a game for a person passing it to a girl while having one foot over the try line.

Ever admitted to getting it wrong?
Only afterwards if it is proven! But never during a match- you have to be seen as the person who does not make mistakes otherwise you could loose control of the game and the respect of the players.

Dream tag team lineup? 
Brian Habana (SA) Joe Rokocoko (NZ) Ian Dowling (IRL) Lifeimi Mafi (NZ) Rua Tipoki (NZ) Lote Tuqiri (AUS) and Jason Robinson (ENG) 

Interested in becoming a referee? Click here.