‘I’m not mad, just really disappointed’ – South African rugby referee lays down the law during England v Wales

Jared Wright
South Africa referee Aimee Barrett-Theron speaking to England captain Finn Carnduff and Wales skipper Harri Ackerman during the U20 Six Nations. Text Reads: 'I'm not mad just really disappointed'

South Africa referee Aimee Barrett-Theron speaking to England captain Finn Carnduff and Wales skipper Harri Ackerman during the U20 Six Nations.

“I’m not mad, just really disappointed” – a one-liner we have all heard at some point in our life but not often on the rugby pitch, but that has changed.

Whether it be from a parent, teacher or significant other, it’s a line that cuts real deep.

On Friday evening, South African referee Aimee Barrett-Theron made the comment to get England and Wales U20s players back onside during their Six Nations clash.

Referee sets the tone

It was a feisty affair at the Recreation Ground, with tempers flaring on more than one occasion, and after an incident early in the game, Barrett-Theron decided to lay down the law with the two captains.

She called the England and Wales captains aside in the 13th minute of the game and uttered the words we all feared as youngsters.

“You know what, boys, I’m not mad; I’m just really disappointed,” she began.

“Because you both gave me buy-ins before the game in the changing room that you would be able to control your players.

“So, did you lie to me? Or is it something you are going to fix from now?”

Both skippers nodded and Barrett-Theron responded: “Thank you, speak to both your teams, thank you.”

The commentary team were impressed with how the official conducted herself.

“Well, that’s the ultimate from Aimee Barrett-Theron, isn’t it – I’m not mad, I’m disappointed. Those are the words we all fear to hear from those that matter to us,” the BBC commentator said.

Ex-Wales international Philippa Tuttiett added: “She went in early with it as well! Thirteen minutes, she’s really disappointed!”

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Reaction

A clip of the interaction has gained traction on social media, with fans reacting favourably on the whole.

“The cardinal rule for parents when it comes to non-violent discipline tactics. The devastating disappointment statement,” one fan replied.

Another added: “This is sooo wonderful, clear communication, love the respect the lads show and love how she addressed them. Beautiful all round.”

The Good, The Scaz And The Rugby co-host Elma Smit was also impressed by Barrett-Theron.

“So much respect for how Aimee manages the pressure of the heat of battle & communicates with this much EQ,” she wrote.

England go back-to-back

England went on to claim their second win of their 2024 U20 Six Nations campaign, securing a 28-7 victory in Bath.

First-half tries from Alex Willis, Archie McParland, and Ioan Jones gave England a 15-7 buffer at the break with Huw Anderson getting one back for Wales.

Two penalties and a late try from Scott Kirk sealed the result for Mark Mapletoft’s side, whose campaign resumes in two weeks when they tackle Scotland.

Ireland secured a 23-22 victory over Italy, while France bounced back from their opening-day defeat, securing a 29-14 win over Scotland.

READ MORE: Expert Witness: Adam Jones highlights where Wales ‘cannot beat England’ and makes bold Scotland prediction