The Man in the Middle

Derek Bevan
Publication Date: 
Monday, October 29, 2001
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A referee can’t make a bad game good, but he can make a good game bad. Based on this assumption, Derek Bevan became one of the world’s best - and best known - rugby union referees. He retired at the end of the 1999-2000 season, aged fifty, after 32 years as the man in the middle. During that long career he refereed in all four World Cups including the 1991 World Cup Final; almost 50 internationals, four Welsh Cup Finals, Hong Kong Sevens, Dubai Sevens and the Students’ World Cup Final.

Forced to stop playing by an industrial accident - he’d been sent off three times as ’an aggressive flanker’ - his love for rugby turned Bevan to refereeing and a prominence he would never have achieved as a player. He saw huge changes in the game: world cups; player professionalism; the growing importance of the smaller nations; television money; the development of the IRB and national Unions; rule changes; a new rugby culture.

In his autobiography Bevan explores the great matches, the great players, modern refereeing and the future for referees. He also owns up to a few mistakes and deals honestly with the Louis Luyt affair in an engaging book which charts rugby at club and international level over the last thirty years. Written with Owen Jenkins.

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