Referee, Rugby union JP Doyle's honest reaction to RFU redundancy
How are you mate good good, thanks for having me on guys, jp let’s get straight into me. What the fuck’s happened? We were going to talk about the games at the weekend. We were going to say what was it like to watch but mate let’s, just get it out there. What the fuck has gone down in chinatown, you can’t, say china. I can’t support chinese, but what’s happened. Service is no longer required. Unfortunately, due to covid and the cutbacks at the review and the business of the business, i guess is sporty sport and we have to take our licks and get on with it. It must have been tough, though, because um yeah, i know every business is going through that, but you you know. I message you in the week and i’ll put a tweet out about it and you can see the amount of love that people have for you around. The way your referee games, your persona, the relationship you have with players um, you know i’m, not asking you to say about any of the referees, but for you um did it. It must come as a big shock. Yeah look when redundancies are happening and there’s a lot of people going through that at the moment, you’ve just got to go through the process and what will that will out? Often you speak to people, and these are these are great opportunities to reset and go again. Of course it was it look.
The best way i can describe. It is it’s very sad and sudden stuff i’d love to be doing a game this weekend, but there are great refs out there. There are other guys who can do the games i’d only love to be out there for me, because i really love doing it. I really like being out there: the teams, the coaches supporters, the support staff around the teams who i used to really enjoy being involved with, but the game will go on. There will be other people to do the games, they’ll referee them brilliantly. The oravu has got a great setup: it’s got great referees for me, it’s, sad and it’s, sudden and it’s yeah. I feel gutted, but rupee goes on. Sport goes on that’s. The nature you guys would love to still be playing i’m sure if they’re fucking no chance. The way they train now, you know yeah but that’s the thing jp. Obviously, we started with a laugh, or else we’d cry, um i’m – sure that you felt a little bit emotional so that you know it’s good to start the show like that, but i think, like goody mentioned, we had a great chat during lockdown and it’s great that We can have that conversation with you, and i know barnes and nigel owens have done other stuff in the media and having access to referees of your caliber and it didn’t seem like. There was any chat, then that potentially the train might have stopped so not back.
Then there was sort of redundancies, you think were refereeing, you’d kind of be immune to it, but the situation is what the situation is. I think it’s been pretty public what’s going on at the rfu they’re having to do what they have to do to ensure the future. I think the future of the game is far more important than the future of jp doyle. You know that’s that’s what we got to remember. We want rugby to be bigger and better and brighter and kick on, and you know it ruppy doesn’t need me. I you know, i love the game, but the game loves nobody. As i heard someone talk about the nfl it’s, okay, it moves on you reassess and you you go again. It is sad but it’s, okay as well yeah. So when you’re reassessing and you’re looking at the opportunities out there, i mean i’ve done some commentary for the guinness pro 14 and there’s a lot of talk about. Potentially you know with your irish descent like that you could potentially go and referee over there. I know it’s not a case of just jumping ship and going there straight away, but you know there’s talks of the referee, potentially not being as good in the guinness pro 14. Is there any initial talks conversations around that because i think firstly you’re still keen to referee right you’re, not thinking oh yeah? No, i i i’d love to. I think the the ironic thing is.
The last thing i did was a bronco test. That was my last acting work was to do a bronco test. Oh man, you should have missed them. You should i’ve got loads of excuses to get you out of those uh yeah. I know i love that stuff um. So that was the last thing we did so i’m i’m good to go, but it wasn’t to be um with ireland and uh well, pro 14 or whatever it may be. They have their guys. They have their panel um and it’s also run by their their unions, and they have their guys coming through that they want to develop and they want to get better sure if they. If someone asked me to go referee, something you know, i take a look, but for them it’s important to develop their referees, they have great ref they’ve all got all the countries have international refs. They want to bring more through. So you can understand where they are. As well with that, so what does it look like for you now that the next steps i know you’ve got family you’re. You know you’re based, obviously um twickenham. Why aren’t you sunbury yeah yeah yeah um? So what does you know? It must be a really hard but really exciting thing to look at what does the future now hold for you plans wise, because i know you’ve got some plans in the pipeline, potentially as well. Yeah well that’s that’s, just what’s, what’s, weird and what’s great is the last two weekends i’ve been able to actually see people at weekends and go yeah.
Okay, i can come across for have a beer and a bowl of crisps on a on a saturday afternoon and that’s been lovely i’m sure that’ll wear thin. I ha i was a schoolteacher. I am a schoolteacher before this, so i can go back into this. I would you know if i miss out and i leave rugby – i would be sad. You know maybe there’s something in around the media. I’D love to do but covet is is, is contracting everything at the moment, so we’re just we’re just eyes, open wide awake, see what we can find out there, but teaching is always a. I love teaching before i came into rugby and i still do so. We’Ll just see what’s what happens jp we’ve had this chat for rugby pass and i absolutely loved doing the interview there that we did together and so did the the listeners or you know the readers. However, they consumed that interview, but what’s it like being a referee, because i think in any walk of sport that you see the referee gets the brunt of everything right it’s like yourself right, yes, yeah but what’s it. Like you tell me, we have the chat, but this is you know the millions this is going to go out to so yeah what’s it like being a ref. It it’s, it’s brilliant. So you got to remember: there’s, almost two guyses of a referee there’s one when you’re wearing your uniform or your jersey or your match kit there’s a there’s, a certain release valve that you are to the fans, the coaches, the players and then there’s the bit that A player sees you when he looks you in the eye that becomes the personal treatment of your history with that ref and sometimes you cannot get on, but you have to find a way of of getting over that.
Sometimes you can have a great laughing relationship without having to say anything on the picture. Crack, jokes and you can just share a smile and laugh with a guy. For me, that’s always been the best moment. The rugby pitch was was being able to share um. Just a knowing incredulous look when someone did something stupid and the player would turn to look at you and you kind of shrug your shoulders and you’re able to have fun without trying to make a big moment of it on telly or anything else. You could just literally have that moment with the players they’re, the ones you the moments, you really treasure going forward and sometimes like with that. You just got a chillax haven’t. You jp you just yeah. Well that was an axe on the field. That was the famous one i the reality is. It was paul hodgson and for those who know paul, he’s, a very excitable character and he just wouldn’t calm down and he wouldn’t stop in my ear and we were playing at bolton and there was uh football lines. We’Re playing reebok stadium against sale and i couldn’t get him to relax about what was in the 22. What was out – and i wanted to tell them to fuck up like just stop, would you and the only words i could find, were chill and relax, and i somehow mangled them together and made an arse of myself, but you became famous for it, and paul was Just trying to be a good player, a good guy, it was just a moment.
It wasn’t meant to go, live and it did and that’s just that’s. Just you wear that for the next seven years. Everyone says it here, but so be it jp. These two lads, obviously uh characters on the field. You’Ve got um gertie, who used to have a fair bit to say and then jim used to cross the line on plenty of occasions. What was your relationship like with them, and do you have any memories of interactions with these boys on the field? Yeah, like i well, this is the game that those two always go on, about which i think 2011 was worcester worcester at home to gloucester, which both players were penalizing the last minute to decide the game both ways, rightly or wrongly, or whatever else it is. That was certainly one to go on, but goodie was always interesting because uh his mood was totally matched by the temperament of the game. So when he was on top, he was great. He was brilliant. Everything was fine. He’D come find you, he he’d lead what needed to be said, and you could just soak it up and relax, but equally goody when he got annoyed, could be difficult and you just have to turn your back, and i remember one time he probably had a rough Tackle on him at worcester one day – and i you probably, i probably saw most of it, but i wasn’t sure quite what happened and because he gets up and yell at you, you kind of go, i don’t know dude, i didn’t see it.
I was someone was yelling at me at the time, so you can kind of have those those moments i don’t know. If you remember that one goody, the blame jim, was always the bad puppy. You know he was always the the guy who was put in the the dog house, and you knew every time you penalized him. The coach was going to jump up and down on his head that you always you always give a penalty and you’d almost be like i’m. So sorry, jim you’ve just stopped again. You can’t squeeze people by the head, you’ve got to calm down, and the froth will be coming and the tattoos will be appearing and you’ll be like oh so forwards and back by nature are worlds apart and in personality they generally are too. So i i think the best thing is is the best thing on the pitch was to let players come to you and express themselves, and we have a lot of respect in the game. The or, if you drive that really hard. But we love players chatting to us talking to us yeah. I still haven’t forgiven you for that one for worcester against gloucester. The ball is out mate. You can’t give a penalty at the scroll we’ll. Let it go we’ll, let it go it’s just dire wasn’t. It yeah and jim definitely piled percival in the back. I think it was yeah that was. That was right, even though ben kenny said he didn’t do it.
He nearly killed james percival on that yeah. There we go and just tell me now then obviously um there’s, a lot of players now other you you’ve refined the premiership since 2006. And yes, there have been players that always talk to you what’s it like now, because the game is way more intense isn’t it from when you first started. Your fitness levels have obviously gone through the roof, as well as referees to cope with it. What the players like, though, are they as vociferous as some of us idiots were back in the day or is it they’re a lot more responsible than just they’re different they’re? You know the next job environment they’re very focused on what they’re doing they’re they’re very tailored into the game plans. They’Re they’re cracking on they’re, unbelievably professional, now like even compared to three years ago, six years ago, nine years ago, that their level of professionalism, their their skills, their you can see it in their bodies, not so much how much bigger they’re getting sometimes because that can Change one year, everyone’s getting bigger when the urbans get leaner, depending on what the fashion is out there and the style of play, but there aren’t many there aren’t many big talkers on the pitch to referees anymore. You know you got wonderful characters like your tom youngs or your brad power, wonderful leaders, and that someone like tom, youngs who’s, just an unbelievable guy, can put huge pressure on you.
Um scott pritz was another guy. I haven’t said how happy and smiley was. He would come at you really hard when he was upset, but he did it in the right way. You can. You can have an argument with the ref if you do it in the right way, so the characters tend to be the more senior older guys, and it was probably always thus uh and the young guys are kind of keeping their head down trying to work. Uh. Normally it’s the scrum halves, who are the most annoying annoying call them annoying. I think what’s interesting is players who come into the premiership tend to be um, have a slightly different way about them than the guys who are brought up within the premiership that’s. One big difference: i notice guys who might come in from a welsh club or an irish club in the pro 14. They might be more vociferous at times, it’s. Just the way things are, and the premise maybe we’re a bit more buttoned down in the premiership. At times jp, when you look back not that it’s over and hopefully it’s, not memories that stand out, i don’t know if you’ve had much time to reflect. Maybe during lockdown you have as well, but a couple of big, obviously games, prem finals, six nations, world cup, more than a couple um any that stick out that you think yeah. You know that’s that one will live with me forever for all the right reasons: uh! Well, it doesn’t you can’t, have for all the right reasons, because every close, tight, difficult game i did someone thinks i did something wrong to cost them the game.
So if it’s 80 nil, i probably refereed really well. So if i asked all the teams, you know how did i referee today? Well, we lost 107 nil. Oh, i think you did really well okay. Thank you very much. If it’s, 14, 13 or 31 32 you’ve probably affected the game somewhere along the way. By a point or two because that’s the nature of refereeing, nothing is black and white um. So i kind of look at the the whole experience rather than the one game, because it’s unfair to put yourself in front of a game and say: oh well, this game. I did was really important to me because it’s not when i do a schools – i i was lucky enough to say a school’s final, that game for those guys is the biggest game they’re ever playing yeah. A couple of guys will go on and play in bigger games, but they’ll always talk about that school’s cup final. So, for me, you’ve got to treat those games with absolute respect because that’s their world cup game and even smaller internationals, you, you get the privilege to do which might not be in front of big crowds. I did germany versus russia in hanover, which was just a big one: big game, big game, big game, but for those german guys playing in that game. That was their everything. So why is that? Why should that be any different as a memory? But yes, obviously big pack twickenham is selfishly they’re at their really nice days, but as the game of rugby goes it’s all the other games.
You play you’re involved in. Tell me you. Let russia win that game mate you don’t! Let russia lose games, they did steve diamond. Was the coach i’ll tell you there’s a one funny story, so we’re playing in hannover and uh there’s, one man on his dog at the game? Maybe 30. 40 50 people at the game. Some snipers russia are winning by 85 points and um did germany have a scrum and that the scrum has probably not put the ball in as correct as he may be, but they’re losing by 85 it’s. Fine, steve diamond stand on the side of the pitch going mad it’s crooked it’s, crooked it’s, crooked it’s, 85 nil, their scrum half actually put one in worse after that, and i blew a free kick so i crooked in on the feed against the russian scrum half With 20 minutes to go at 85 nil, i thought steve diamond was just going to explode on the sideline he’s i’m gon na get you. I know, it’s just just a nice. A nice moment, 85 nil. Russia went on to win no problem, but thank goodness, thank goodness. I don’t think that has too much effect on the game, all right jp. Thank you very much for joining us mate uh best of luck, uh for whatever the future holds for you next, and hopefully we see you back out in that field sooner rather than later.