"It Shouldn't Happen" - Luke Pearce Criticises Fans that Attacked Football Referee Anthony Taylor at Airport - Ruck

“It Shouldn’t Happen” – Luke Pearce Criticises Fans that Attacked Football Referee Anthony Taylor at Airport

The referee of the 2023 Premiership Final Luke Pearce, has criticised the actions of a group of football fans, who attacked referee Anthony Taylor in a recent viral video.

Pearce is establishing himself as one of the best rugby referees in the world, and he took a firm stand against the actions of AS Roma fans, after their side lost Wednesday night’s Europa League Final on penalties against Sevilla. Luke Pearce criticised the behaviour, sharing his thoughts on his Twitter account.

The video shows a group of fans threatening the match’s referee Anthony Taylor, as he tries to make his way through an airport with his family. The shocking video sees the family escorted through the crowd by police as fans jeer and harass him. A chair is even thrown in Taylor’s direction, and thankfully he and his family seem to have left the situation safely.

Pearce’s tweet has received engagement from the rugby community, who also criticise the actions of the football fans. The rugby fans believe that football can learn from their sport, about how to respect their match officials both on and off the pitch.

The rugby community vocalised their support of Pearce, who put in an excellent refereeing performance in the 2023 Premiership Final. On two occasions, Pearce took the time to review two potential tries, which he deemed to be held-up.

Yet Pearce reviewed the efforts with the TMO, and overruled his on-field decisions, showing how he doesn’t shy away from gaining a second opinion in high-stakes matches.

Luke Pearce has recently been confirmed to be part of the refereeing team, for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. He is certainly becoming one of rugby’s best match officials, ahead of the showpiece event in France.

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Luke Pearce named the best rugby referee in the world

Love them or loathe them, without referees, there would be no game of rugby union.

As a result, RUCK asked fans to debate who are the best rugby referees in the world.

Of course, criticism of officials often comes with the territory, but every so often, a referee has a game that makes the sport’s fraternity stand up and take notice.

Here are, according to fans, the five best rugby union referees at present.


#5. Mathieu Raynal (France)

Born in Perpignan, France, in 1981 Mathieu now officiates at the highest level of rugby and is on the World Rugby Referees Panel, returning as a referee for his second World Cup appearance as a referee. 

Before refereeing Mathieu played locally and was part of the successful junior team that won the junior championships in France. 

His refereeing career started in 2001 when he joined a local referees society. Mathieu was promoted from refereeing amateur rugby matches to the second division of France’s professional rugby structure in 2006, and quickly moved onto his first professional game as a match official between Grenoble and Toulon.

Mathieu’s first Test Match was between Malta V Netherlands in 2008 at the European Nations Cup, with his first Tier One fixture in 2012 – an Autumn international between Scotland and Tonga.

In 2022 Mathieu oversaw the Bledisloe Cup between Australia and New Zealand.

At the time of writing, to date Mathieu has overseen 36 test matches including fixtures at the Six Nations and the 2019 World Cup where he refereed South Africa V Namibia, Australia v Uruguay, and Scotland v Russia. 

Referee, Mathieu Raynal during the Heineken Champions Cup Round 4 match between Gloucester Rugby and Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester, Gloucestershire on December 14. – PHOTO: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK