“Shot by a Taliban sniper” – Ex ref slams coach for “personal attack” on referee despite his armed forces service

After Sunday’s action concluded with games between Leeds Rhinos and Leigh Leopards, Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity and Salford Red Devils and St Helens there was one major talking point.

That was the comments made about referee Jack Smith by Salford boss Paul Rowley.

Rowley described him as “weak” and “a disgrace” as he said the contest was a “good game spoiled.”

It has since been reported by the BBC that Rowley will face the compliance board of the RFL following these comments.

Rowley said in full: “It’s so hard. If we’d have won the game, I’d come in and say probably exactly the same thing. I thought the officials were a disgrace. I think Jack, I’ve watched him on telly, he’s been a disgrace a few times this year, one for us at Warrington at home. So three games in a row now we’ve been absolutely let down.

“So clearly Kendall and Liam Moore are the best two refs who get all the cup finals, we don’t get them too much so we must be deemed poor quality games.

“It’s kind of gloves off, I’m usually quite measured and take my time I don’t like to criticise because we’ve lost obviously, but again, I’d have said the same thing in victory.

“Games are very much decided by officials quite often and the obvious response to that will be, ‘they don’t miss a tackle’, ‘they don’t do a forward pass’, and no they don’t, but they don’t get batted 25 times a game either so a lot of it is just visual.”

What he said has drawn a lot of criticism from former official Ian Smith.

He has now taken to social media to highlight that Jack Smith showed amazing strength in the armed forces and that it was wrong for Rowley to make what he suggested could be seen as a “personal attack” on the referee who has one of the most inspiring stories in sport.

He said: “The ref he called a disgrace/weak, is a former RM Commando who got shot by a Taliban sniper in Helmand, bullet pierced his lung, broke 10 ribs & exited through his chest, one the bravest & strongest bloke I’ve ever met, maybe Paul could have chosen different words in description.

“Many people took it as a personal attack towards Jack, if he hadn’t have said it then there wouldn’t be any misinterpretation.”