Professional Rugby Player Turned Referee Says Modern Refs Are Much Fitter Than Players
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“I can tell you that for a fact now.”
Former Harlequins scrumhalf Karl Dickson says modern day referees are much fitter than rugby players.
The 35-year-old was appointed to the Rugby Football Union’s panel of elite referees during the summer after three years of officiating outside the top tier on a part-time basis. Dickson expects to take charge of his first Aviva Premiership match this season after becoming the only former professional English player to make the transition.
After making 169 appearances for Harlequins, Dickson says becoming a referee and discovering the demands that come with it, was a huge shock to the system.
“As a rugby player you’re doing big weights and running, whereas referees are doing weights to prevent injury and conditioning,” Dickson told PA Sport.
“Referees are a lot fitter than players, I can tell you that for a fact now. If you took us referees and put them against a load of players, we’d be way above them because it’s a different type of fitness.
“That was my biggest surprise….I was ‘wow’ at how much fitter than players they are. It took time to get up to speed with that.”