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Jackson hopes more follow his path

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Sportal.co.nz     16 Nov 2012     Getty Images

Jackson controlled the England-Fiji game at Twickenham at the weekend to complete a remarkable path in his career.

While the initial reaction had been: 'Why the hell are you doing it?' [refereeing] it was now a case of people asking how he was doing in his new role, he told the IRB's Total Rugby Radio podcast.

There was more interest in the process of how he had made the transformation and he believed that could only do good for the game.

Jackson said that while he had some conversations with referees on the field when he played he always had a drink with them after games and realised they were all good men.

He said that had been behind his decision to take on refereeing and he hoped his example would be a way for others, especially in New Zealand, to take up refereeing as an option once their playing careers were complete.

Jackson said it had first crossed his mind when in his penultimate season with the Chiefs in Super Rugby. He had thought it was not a bad way to stay within the game and he took it further when in his six-season career with Saracens. He did some work with the Rugby Football Union and then put a proposal to the New Zealand refereeing administration and they had taken it on board.

Having more players take on refereeing did not necessarily mean there would be better referees but he did feel those who made the change would be better people for it.

"If you see more players involved hopefully you will see referees get liked more," he said.

Having to cope with scrummaging issues when his playing background was in the backs had not been an issue, he said.

"I've had a bit of stick about that from a lot of front rowers but I have done a fair bit of work with coaches and stuff like that about actually what goes on and pretty much what I have got out of it they don't know either so obviously there are a few triggers you need to look at in terms of how the scrums are going.

"It is certainly a contentious area but one that I have been working really hard with," he said.

Fitness requirements were different and he felt he was fitter as a referee because he didn't have to do weights work that is required by players.

So far as goals as a referee were concerned Jackson said he didn't think too much about World Cup finals because the likely involvement of the All Blacks would deny him that chance.

But his main goal was to keep enjoying doing the refereeing. That had been the same when he played, and was the same attitude he was taking to refereeing, he said.