Ahead of this weekend’s Calcutta Cup, our partners at ACME Whistles caught up with New Zealand referee Ben O’Keefe during his preparation for the opening match of the 2022 Six Nations.
Having missed out on the 2021 tournament due to COVID travel restrictions, Ben has been allocated one of the few passes to travel and oversee games this year, bringing him back to a tournament that holds a special place for him as an international referee.
When asked about his expectations for the game he said: “I mean we all know the importance of the Calcutta Cup, but as with any game I have my blueprint of how I referee.
“I know that I can referee a ruck really well, a scrum, line out, I can manage foul play. So, all the management skills I’ve already got and prepared for Saturday.
“Depending on the weather we might have more scrums, or we might have more knock-ons, we might have more box kicks – but you prepare during the week so you know that you can do those things really well so whatever happens Saturday.
“Then, when it comes to game day, you can just react.
“So, when I think about this weekend, and I think about what the game could bring, I’m actually ready for anything.”
Having met with both England and Scotland coaches this week, connected with his AR and TMO about game management, Ben will be heading to the ground at around 2pm today for the game.
When asked about his expectations about how the game will play out, Ben said:
“From experience when I’ve tried to predict what the game is going to be like, I’m always wrong.
“You can never do that. I think that’s the exciting thing about the game is that you prepare as a referee to be the best that you can be on that day.
“I know how big a game it is and I’m going to get in the middle, set some guidelines so the teams can go out there and have a really good Calcutta Cup game.”
To find out more about the ACME Whistles support for officials across rugby, visit www.acmewhistles.co.uk