Ian Madigan brilliantly shuts down Twitter user who was complaining about female referees
Female referees and match assistants are starting to make great strides in the game.
Joy Neville is not the first ever female referee to oversee a men's professional match - far from it - but the former Ireland international did recently record some firsts - taking chare of PRO14 and Challenge Cup encounters.
Neville won Referee of the Year at the World Rugby awards, earlier this month, and gave credit to all those that had come before her and those had had supported her journey from player to ref. She is making great strides and one of the best aspects of her rise in the game is how little a woman reffing the men has come up. Most folks accept it for what it is - the best person for the job going out and doing their job.
That is not the case for everyone, sadly.
On Friday night, Bristol Rugby tore Cornish Pirates asunder to record their 11th straight league win. Matthew O’Grady was the match referee but his two assistants and the Television Match Official were all women.
Former Leinster and Ireland outhalf Ian Madigan converted all eight of his side's tries and played a crucial role in three of them being scored. For that, Madigan earned his third man-of-the-match award of the league season.
His work was only beginning, however.
Rugby commentator Johnnie Hammond was mightily impressed with Bristol's performance and put the question out there about a breath-taking first half.
And so the disgruntled fan's tweet sat there overnight. A shot in the dark, which would most likely be forgotten. A slight on the match officials that would go unchallenged.
Fortunately for all involved, but the rugby fan, Ian Madigan waded in and defended the referee and her touchline assistants.
Bristol doubled down with a class statement of their own too:
'What’s their gender got to do with anything? If you hadn’t noticed, it’s 2017, not 1817. Oh, and merry Christmas!'
It prompted the following response from the dissatisfied rugby supporter and an absolute gem in return from the Ireland international.
Good seat? The driving seat, more like, as Madigan ran the show for Pat Lam's side.
The Twitter troll still hadn't twigged that he was actually engaged in a debate about the game with someone who had actually been involved.
Thankfully, a kind soul stepped in.
It all went downhill from there as the fan claimed he had only been watching highlights on his laptop and had skipped much of those just to see the tries. Oh, and he was a neutral too.
Not exactly in the best position to pass judgement on the referee or her assistants then.