With the clock ticking on his 26-year career as a referee, Jerome Garces has claimed that the infamous 2015 Six Nations tunnel stand-off in Cardiff featuring England and Wales was his most stressful moment in the game.
Ahead of Saturday’s 2018/19 league decider featuring Toulouse and Clermont at Stade de France, which will be his last Top 14 fixture, Garces sat down with Midi Olympique for an extensive interview that soon had him reminiscing about the bizarre situation where Chris Robshaw refused to lead England out onto the Millennium Stadium pitch.
“The most complicated situation I had to deal with probably dates back to 2015 when Wales-England played,” he said.
“The English knew that the Welsh used to let their opponents enter the Millennium first, to let them have a few minutes alone in front of the public.
“That day, captain Chris Robshaw refused to get out of the tunnel until the Welsh came with them… I did not expect that at all.
“When you prepare a match, you imagine 50 kinds of things, but I never imagined that the English would refuse to leave the locker room. It was necessary to have a moment with them.
“Finally, after five or six minutes, the English agreed to go out provided that the referees accompanied them. The Welsh arrived after, as usual… but for me, it had been a hell of a stress!”
Retour vers le futur en Une de Midi Olympique.
— Midi Olympique (@midi_olympique) June 13, 2019
Garces, meanwhile, would ban the two-man tackle in rugby if he was given the power to change one of the game’s rules.
“On the subject of player safety, I would be in favour of banning two-man tackling,” he said.
“First because it complicates the task of the ball carrier, but also because these situations are dangerous for the tacklers. There is a risk for everyone, it does not promote the continuity of the game and it increases the number of rucks. Rugby would evolve frankly in a good way by prohibiting it.”
WATCH: Part one of the two-part RugbyPass documentary on what fans can expect in Japan at this year’s World Cup
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.