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An Unlucky Break…

An Unlucky Break…

With Christmas fast approaching thoughts are turning to those less fortunate than ourselves and counted among them is Welsh international referee Nigel Whitehouse. Instead of playing his part in the Heineken Cup matches this month and next, and preparing for the Six Nations, the Swansea-based policeman is nursing a broken leg. It all happened in Russia last month when he went to control a Rugby World Cup qualifying game between Russia and Spain. It turned into the trip from hell for the Welsh official.

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“Our plane from Heathrow was cancelled on the Friday morning, so we had to wait until 10.00pm at night to get on an Aeroflot flight to Moscow,” explained Whitehouse.

“By the time we took off it was gone midnight and we finally got out of the airport at 7.00am local time. We had an hours ride in a rickety old van to our hotel, where we got a couple of hours sleep before getting ready to go to the game.

“It was snowing like hell and I didn’t think there was a chance of us playing the game. The pitch was an hour away from the hotel and when we got there it was frozen solid.

“The players got changed and we were originally going to give it a go, but then the Spaniards decided it was too dangerous. We went to a reception for an hour and then headed back to the hotel.

“We decided to go out for a meal, but as we walked down the street I slipped, fell on my leg and suffered a break. My colleagues called an ambulance, but no hospital in Moscow would take me so I had to travel in an ambulance for an hour.

“When I arrived at the hospital it was pretty late on a Saturday night and the floors were covered in blood and there were injured people everywhere. They X-Rayed my leg, put me in plaster and I went back to the hotel and got to bed around midnight.”

The drama didn’t end there. His Welsh touch-judge colleagues had to plead for a ticket for him on the British Airways flight the next morning because he had only just been put in plaster and he finally arrived home in Swansea nearly 62 hours after he left with a broken leg, and eight to 12 week lay off and no extra international experience.

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