FOUR of the world’s top rugby league referees took charge of a match involving the University of Chester.
Ashley Klein, Henry Perenara, Shayne Hayne and Ben Cummins normally officiate in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) – regarded as the elite competition in the sport.
But the four are spending the next five weeks in the UK for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, which begins tomorrow with a double-header at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Perenara will referee the match between Australia and England, with Klein taking charge of Wales against Italy.
As part of their preparations for the tournament, the officials were due to take charge of student fixtures but a late change of plan meant all four ended up refereeing the match between the University of Chester and the University of Salford on the 3G pitch at the Parkgate Road campus yesterday.
The game was split into four quarters with the referees – who normally keep stars like of Sonny Bill Williams and Jonathan Thurston in line – taking charge of one quarter each.
James Szymik, further and higher education manager for the Rugby Football League, said: “This is a great boost for student Rugby League to have these top officials involved in our game.
“It is also a terrific opportunity for our players to experience refereeing at the very highest level.”
The match ended in defeat for the home side with the University of Salford running out 32-8 winners.