Most of this has to do with referees and their TMO assistant’s interpretation of the laws and how it is applied, but then there are those decisions which are quite simply baffling.
This past weekend we had two more TMO /referees decisions that had a huge influence on the game and momentum shifts in the game.
In Nelspruit Jaco Pyper controversially gave Edmar Marais a yellow card when touch judge said to Peyper the left wing pulled his opponents dreadlocks. The TMO was called in and he found that there is no evidence to support the allegation only for Peyper to still give him a yellow card.
In Kimberley the Golden Lions first try was given without the referee going upstairs even though the try was scored in the corner with the Lions player diving to get a touchdown. On the replays it showed that Robbie Coetzee’s foot was in touch before he grounded the ball but by then it was all too late.
We all know players are publicly held accountable for their actions both on and off the field but can the same be said of our referees?
Let’s go back to a week ago when Griquas played the Cheetahs. Griquas lock Rory Arnold scored a try for his team in a crucial stage of the game. After the try was scored a complaint from a Cheetahs player was raised with the on-field referee that Arnold the try-scorer sunk his teeth into the defender and deliberately bit him.
I just got my new HD “BIG” screen television that day and after several replays I could not see any evidence of any clear bite by the Griquas player. The TMO came back to the referee and said that he could see that the player did indeed bite the Cheetahs player. I was stunned to say the least but based on the TMO’s ‘evidence’ the player was sent from the field and the rest is history.
What baffled me even more was when I heard a few days later that the SARU judicial officer found Arnold guilty on the balance of probabilities and relying particularly on the victim’s immediate and spontaneous reactions and the doctor’s evidence. I always thought a person must be proven guilty and not be judged on probabilities or even worse the reaction of the victim.
Monday, the ruling was overturned and he was cleared from all charges. Arnold claimed from the start that his mouth was opened while scoring the try and that downward pressure caused the bite marks on the cheetah player.
I would like to know who is taking responsibility and accountability for the actions against Arnold for the past ten days.
He lost at least one game’s match fee (not to mention the position it put his team under losing a player for a home game which they ended up losing narrowly) but most important, what about the stigma that will now be attached to the player?
I really have to question the role of the TMO and the SARU judicial system if an individual can now rule and punish on “probabilities” and “reactions” and not was is clear and fact.
Deon Fourie was cited with eye gouging Keegan Daniels in Saturdays match at Newlands.
Sharks loose forward Keegan Daniel has leapt to the defence of WP skipper Deon Fourie who was cited for allegedly eye gouging Daniel during their Currie Cup clash at Newlands over the weekend.
Fourie was cited on Monday and will appear before a disciplinary committee in Cape Town on Tuesday at 12:00. The incident occurred in the 12th minute of the match after Daniel pulled Fourie to the ground. No action was taken by the referee. The incident hardly looks like a deliberate eye-gouge though, and Daniel was quick to defend Fourie.
He tweeted the following after the match, which WP won 25-19:”Just to clear things up, there was no eye gouge from Deon, he’s not that type of player. Rugby is a contact sport and these things happen.”