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The Ref’s whistle

August 8, 2017 August 2017 No Comments

Initially rugby matches were controlled by the referee shouting at the players when there was an rule infringement which was pretty hard on the refs’ larynx. In 1884 William Atack was refereeing such a match in Canterbury and suffering an extremely strained voice thought that there must be a better way. Putting his hand in his pocket he discovered his shepherd’s whistle and the solution was born.

He sought and received the player’s permission to try the whistle at the next match and so the first game played ‘to the whistle’ was held in Canterbury that year. The ideas soon caught on and was quickly adopted into the world rugby rules. It’s just a sham e that Atack didn’t take shares in a whistle factory.

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