100 games on the end of the whistle

100 club . . . Father and son referee duo Lindsay (left) and Chris Paul show off their matching 100-game caps. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

Doing something 100 times once is hard enough, but for the Paul family it seems to run in the blood.

South Canterbury Rugby referee Chris Paul has followed in his father Lindsay Paul’s footsteps in refereeing his 100th senior club match last weekend.

Lindsay Paul achieved the accolade in 2019, and Chris has now joined the exclusive club after being handed the whistle for last Saturday’s match between Temuka and Waimate.

Reaching the 100-game milestone was a very special moment, he said.

‘‘The fact that Dad has done it as well makes that even more bit special. It’s sort of a family 100, really.

‘‘Getting recognised for it is a big thing not just for us as referees, but anyone in the sport. Getting 100 in anything isn’t the easiest to come by.’’

After a bad concussion abruptly ended his playing career, Chris turned to refereeing to stay involved in the game he loved, he said.

‘‘I got post-concussion in 2014 which set me back a good year until my body found a sort of new normal. I had to give up the gym because that extensive exercise just set my brain off, so my mother suggested I take up refereeing.

‘‘Of course, as everyone does, you turn around and sit there and go ‘I’m not doing that bloody job, you know what happens in the job and the sort of abuse you get’, but I ended up taking it up in 2015 and haven’t looked back since.’’

Family affair . . . After blowing the full-time whistle for the 100th time in a senior club match, Chris Paul is presented his cap by father and South Canterbury Rugby Referees Association president Lindsay Paul while (from left) his daughter Harlow Paul, 4, Kevin Scannell of the South Canterbury Rugby Referees Association and mother Rhoda Paul watch on.

He said within the first six months of starting the job, he was hooked.

‘‘I decided then I really wanted to see how far I could actually take it. At that time we had [international referee] Colin Hawke as our REO [referee education officer], and he really led me along the way and took me under his wing.

‘‘He was the one who really helped me first break into the NZR squad in 2018.’’

Chris said despite hitting the milestone he had no plans to slow down any time soon.

‘‘I’ve been lucky enough to be re-selected back into that NZR format — I had a year off a couple years back due to a knee injury which took me out of everything. So it’s great to be selected back into that.

‘‘I just want to keep improving myself and just see where it can take me.

‘‘The plan is to just keep going until I can’t.’’

For the moment he said the focus was just club rugby, and he would be taking things as they came.

He said he would love to see more people take the leap and pick up a whistle

‘‘For anyone that’s thinking about it, just come and give it a go. You don’t know if you don’t try. ‘‘We’re always in need of more referees.’’