Super Rugby refs axed for poor displays

March 24, 2014
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South African official Stuart Berry – who whistled the Queensland Reds off Ellis Park in Johannesburg on the weekend – is among four Super Rugby referees axed for poor performances. Berry, compatriot Lourens van der Merwe, Argentina’s Francisco Pastrana and Australian referee Angus Gardner were all stood down by governing body SANZAR on Monday.
Date
March 24, 2014 – 6:36PM

Jim Morton

Stuart Berry during the match between the Lions and the Reds at Ellis Park at the weekend.Stuart Berry during the match between the Lions and the Reds at Ellis Park at the weekend. Photo: Getty Images

 

The quartet paid the price for sub-par displays as SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray takes a hard stance on improving the competition’s standard of refereeing. Bray last week indicated there would be a purge of officials at the end of the month but has wielded the axe a week early, following continued on-field controversies.

Berry had come under widespread criticism – from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – after he penalised the Reds 17-4 against the Lions, who came back from 20-3 down to win 23-20 in Johannesburg on Sunday morning Australian time. Reds coach Richard Graham, particularly incensed by the final 10 minutes of the game, said he’d never seen such a lop-sided count.

Berry was due to stand as assistant referee in Pretoria this weekend but has been taken off duty for at least two weeks, as has Gardner.

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The performances of Berry, who awarded a controversial try to the Lions against the Blues the week before, and van der Merwe in South Africa had sparked renewed calls for SANZAR to return to neutral referees.

Graham had previously made a formal complaint about van der Merwe’s display in Queensland’s 35-20 loss to the Sharks in Durban the week before.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske was just as cutting after panning Pastrana following his side’s 40-30 loss to the Blues in Auckland.

Van der Merwe has been stripped of controlling this Saturday’s Blues-Highlanders clash in Auckland, while Pastrana has been replaced by Nick Briant, who will referee Friday night’s Crusaders-Hurricanes game in Christchurch.

Bray has dismissed the need for neutral referees but said decreasing the pool of officials would see more consistency, with the very best handling more games heading into the finals. ”One of our core strategic objectives is to grow the depth of the team that is able to referee ‘any game, any time’,” he said. ”In line with this, we have reduced the size of the team heading into the next phase of the competition and in doing so, have recognised who has performed to expectation and who has not.”

AAP

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/super-rugby-refs-axed-for-poor-displays-20140324-hvm8h.html#ixzz2ws8VvSnN

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9 Comments

  1. avatar LionsinPTA says:
    March 24th, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Just a fyi…

    BErry has not been fired. From the horses mouth

    SANZAR wishes to advise two referee appointment changes for the forthcoming round of Super Rugby.

    Nick Briant will officiate Crusaders v Hurricanes on Friday night while Steve Walsh will oversee the Blues v Highlanders clash in Auckland on Saturday night.

    SANZAR Game Manager Lyndon Bray said, “We have always strived to have strong accountability within our team and importantly, accountability for the competition. As such, we have always sought to conduct ourselves in a fair, transparent and open manner.

    “One of our core strategic objectives is to grow the depth of the team that is able to referee ‘any game, any time.’ In line with this, we have reduced the size of the team heading into the next phase of the competition and in doing so, have recognised who has performed to expectation and who has not.

    “The aim is to give this smaller pool of referees more game time so when it comes to the Finals Series, there’s a great deal of pressure around who will earn those highly sought after appointments and from a Super Rugby perspective, that the competition is getting a consistent high standard of refereeing.”

    ROUND 7 (revised appointments)

    Crusaders v Hurricanes – Nick Briant
    Rebels v Brumbies – Jaco Peyper
    Blues v Highlanders – Steve Walsh
    Reds v Stormers – Chris Pollock
    Bulls v Chiefs – Craig Joubert
    Sharks v Waratahs – Mike Fraser

    ROUND 8 (no change)

    Highlanders v Rebels – Chris Pollock
    Brumbies v Blues – Rohan Hoffmann
    Hurricanes v Bulls – Steve Walsh
    Reds v Force – Garratt Williamson
    Cheetahs v Chiefs – Craig Joubert
    Lions v Crusaders – Marius van der Westhuizen
    Stormers v Waratahs – Glen Jackson

    Stuart Berry, Angus Gardner, Andrew Lees and Matt O’Brien are not scheduled for primary refereeing appointments in the coming fortnight (as per the communication issued on March 11), but will be considered for Rounds 9-10, which will be released in due course.

    http://www.sanzarrugby.com/superrugby/news/revised-super-rugby-refereeing-appointments/

  2. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    March 24th, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    @LionsinPTA:

    Yep they (all four) have been ‘stood down’ not sacked… and rightly so… this should extend to assistant refs not ‘assisting’ properly too…

  3. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 24th, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    @LionsinPTA: Ja, ja , ja en more sneeu dit in Zambia……wat jou ookal laat slap in die nag…

  4. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 24th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    That useless Argie ref should be put in jail for the way he manage to spoil the game….

    Hope we never see that idiot again…

  5. avatar Mervyn Keown says:
    March 25th, 2014 at 7:00 am

    I dont think SA refs are bad, they can make a mistake yes, but having refs that cannot communicate like arg, french no good to game. Use refs who is fluent in English.

  6. avatar DavidS says:
    March 25th, 2014 at 10:55 am

    @bryce_in_oz:

    Bullshit Bryce and you know it or else didn’t watch the Lions game… Berry is the first ref to finally ping the Reds for their cynical intentionalism when not in possession and their incessant obstructive running lines on attack as well as their incessant collapses to seal off balls for their backline players to quickly grab a hold of.

    Lyndon Bray just is afraid his minions of antipodean rubbish refs who allow their players to escape with murder and just referee one side against South African teams are being given a taste of their own medicines.

  7. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    March 25th, 2014 at 11:44 am

    @DavidS: Does not help you will always have half of the one and half of the other…..

    That we have serious problems with referee’s overall one year from a WC is frightening.

    Don’t know how they going to fix it. Referee’s these days reminds me of those corporals you got that just finished their JL training and gets his own “rowwe”

    Bulletproof and all and nobody can touch them.

  8. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    March 25th, 2014 at 11:59 am

    @DavidS:

    Nah mate… despite the Lions being one of my fav teams this season… Berry has had a shocker on two consecutive weeks… he almost soured those wins for me…

    Bray has penalised 4 refs and they all deserve it…

  9. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    March 25th, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    @bryce_in_oz:

    Actually SANZAR have dismissed the Berry suspension… it’s the other 3…

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