Skip to main content Skip to footer

At the heart of the Six Nations rugby action between England and France at Twickenham

alt=""

Hotels Agency team director Peter Brunt swapped the thrill of the deal for the grounds of Twickenham last weekend, as one of the match officials team. Here he gives some behind the scenes insights into his life as a rugby official.


The England versus France match was the second time that I have been lucky enough to be an official at Twickenham. For this fixture, crucial to both teams in terms of their standing in the tournament, I was No.5 (fifth official), and was responsible for recording substitutions, the joint management of the technical areas with the No.4  - as well as being occasional water boy for the referee Andrew Brace! 

 16 03 21 Peter Brunt Twickenham Ref       16 03 21 Peter Brunt Twickenham Ref 2


I am unusual in the PGMOT (Professional Game Match Official Team) in not having played rugby at a high level. In fact, I began ‘reffing’ to help out my son’s U8 team when I was 40 having played little rugby. I just wanted to do it well and with lots of help from others I went through the ranks to the point where being over-50 really precluded progressing further as a referee, and so I applied to join the assistant referee panel. After two years in the National Leagues (third and fourth tier of English rugby) I was incredibly proud to be asked to join the PGMOT, and this is my third season.

I have been involved in pretty much every Premiership and European round since professional rugby restarted, all of us officials have to undergo weekly COVID testing, as well as keep up our usual fitness training to meet the Bronco test. I count myself very lucky to have had rugby as an outlet during this last year. I travel a fair amount with work as I sell hotels all across the Midlands, South West and Wales, but officiating at matches has allowed me to meet a wider circle of friends. Together we’re able to help others enjoy the sport and maintain a sense of normality during this testing time.

Baked Goods

I took a cake I’d made to the first game of the current Premiership season and it went down so well with the match official team there that I have baked something for every game I’ve officiated at this season. For the Six Nations match I decided to bake a Guinness and chocolate cake as the referee, one of the assistant referees plus the Television Match Official (TMO) were Irish and it was nearly St Patrick’s Day.

16 03 21 Peter Brunt Twickenham Cake

The day of the match was a pretty full day: travelling to the grounds to arrive two hours before kick-off; then the game; then the post-match chat and snack before heading home. In normal times it would have included dinner and an overnight stay in advance, plus a post-match dinner with the teams, but COVID-19 has put paid to all that so it was a slice of pizza in the referee's changing room, a slice of my cake, a "nice to see you all" and home we went.

My daughter is a referee too (she has been No.5 at an England v France as well) and female role models in the sport are really important so I would have loved to have had the chance to meet Joy Neville, who was the TMO on the day, but TMO's are not given "red zone" access and have to stay in the truck in the car park.  Another time maybe….

The following day I returned to London to be 4th official at London Irish v Worcester, in the Gallagher Premiership which was refereed by Luke Pearce who will be in charge of France v Wales next week, when I will be back in London running the line in the Greene King Championship at Richmond v Jersey.  The restart of the Championship last weekend is really great news and I am looking forward to playing my part in that as Saracens try to gain promotion back to the Premiership. 

The buzz of big time rugby is incredible and, while the legs and lungs will cope with the demands, I will go on as long as I can.  Rugby is also a great shared interest, only last week I visited a hotel where it turned out the owner had played 300 games for Gloucester! 


About the Author

Peter Brunt, director of Hotels Agency,is an experience chartered surveyor who has been dealing with the hotel and pub market for more than three decades.

To get in touch, please email peter.brunt@colliers.com

 


Related Experts

Peter Brunt

Director of Hotels Agency

Hotels Agency

Bristol

Peter is a chartered surveyor who first started dealing with the hotel and pub market in 1988.  He joined Robert Barry & Co in 1995 and after many years as a valuation professional has now been selling hotels and pubs for over 20 years. He is the director in charge of our operations in the west midlands and south west. This covers the south and south west of England including the Cotswolds, Oxfordshire, Hereford, Worcestershire, Shropshire, as well as the West Midlands, Staffordshire, south and mid Wales as well as more major instructions in the south west region generally. 

If you used to deal with former colleagues, Jon Wren, Alastair Murchie, James Richards, Chris Kent, Simon Wells or Mervyn Cully please feel free to contact Peter.

View expert