In a survey of over 100 rugby referees, 67% said that they had been subjected to verbal or physical abuse with 74% of those saying that the abuse was increasing and affecting their enjoyment of the game and 86% believing that there had been an erosion of respect and sportsmanship against the values of rugby.
No matter how you spin the figures it doesn't look good. I've commented previously on the increasing lack of respect shown to referees in the game at grassroots level and it doesn't appear to be getting any better.
Respect for the officials is something we continually drum into my son's Under 13 team, and it is absolutely necessary given what they see and hear on the TV in relation to both football and rugby.
I am not for one minute suggesting the problem is anywhere near the levels experienced in football, but it's evident from the Telegraph report that we cannot afford to be at all complacent.