Jamie Heaslip was asked yesterday about the possible influence of the referee on today’s opening World Cup match between Ireland and Canada, but said it is the job of the players to keep his role to a minimum.
Kiwi Glen Jackson is taking charge of the match in the Millennium Stadium and Ireland conceded an alarming number of penalties during their last encounter - when he took charge of their first warm-up match against Wales in August.
Ireland’s number eight felt the fault for those was with the players rather than Jackson, and said he himself felt a responsibility to improve.
“I think I gave three penalties away myself that day, got away with one,” he admitted. “That probably would bring it down into single figures alone.
“If I was going to say anything, I’d say worry about ourselves. I’m not going to tell anyone else to worry about the ref.
“Worry about our job and just take that stuff out of the ref’s hands - just play good rugby.”
Video by Dan Linehan
The Leinster man conceded that they team did look at the referee as part of preparation for a game.
“You obviously do your analysis of the ref, because he’s a pretty big figure in the game, as much as a team,” he explained.
“You try and if they have any traits, see if they are particularly hot on anything.”
But he was adamant the only way to play was to aim to make the referee’s job easy, simply by getting it right on the field.
“To be honest you worry more about yourself.
“You don’t want the ref involved in the game. You just wanna paint good pictures around either rucks or mauls or tackles and take his decisions out of the game.”
Shaun Cronin, Head Sports Reporter chatting with Irish Examiner Rugby Correspondent Simon Lewis during the Captain’s Run at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Video by Dan Linehan