In 2011, Brian R. Sumner published a book called 'The Lucky Generation: The Life, Loves and Times of a (Slightly Mad) Baby Boomer'.
In the book, he talks about his rugby career, which reached its zenith when he was selected for the Wasps '7' team for the Middlesex sevens finals at Twickenham. He informs the reader that his preparation was hampered by his cruel girlfriend Jenny who kept him "up all night shagging."
He is also happy to toss in after-dinner style rugby anecdotes of the type that you see on those Will Carling-hosted events with former players that now proliferate on youtube.
One of which concerns an exasperated referee who gathers the mouthy, whingeing players together and tells them, "Look here, there are too many refs on the pitch!"
To which one grizzled prop replies, "Yeah, and you're by no means the fucking best of them."
This joke goes back a long way so.
Step forward Nigel Owens, who was on the receiving end of one such line for one of Munster's greatest heroes.
Owens was officiating at his first ever Leinster-Munster game back in the early days of the Celtic League. There was choas in the scrums and the opposing props were pointing the finger at the opposition.
Nigel tried to assert his authority by saying there were far too many refs on the pitch.
At which point, Peter Clohessy, aka, the claw, legendary Irish international, Munster hero, and the first Irish international to play Super Rugby, piped up.
Peter Clohessy was playing and it was my first Irish derby I was an inexperienced referee and they were taking full advantage of this.
Shane Byrne was playing for Leinster, Reggie Corrigan was there too. I’m sure a young John Hayes was playing for Munster.
The first six or seven scrums were going down, and I penalised one or two and they just kept going down.
Everyone was having their say. The Munster back-row were shouting ‘he’s collapsing it’ and the Leinster back-row were shouting ‘he’s collapsing it’. The hooker was having his say.. .I just blew it up and said there’s about twenty referees on the field at the moment.
Clohessy turned to me and said yes.. and you’re not one of them.
I remember looking at him thinking: 'He’s right, I’m not one of them.