Home RuggaWorld Columnists Do officials crave the limelight too?

Do officials crave the limelight too?




Officials are starting to act like neglected kids who have always sought attention with atrocious calls and decisions every week. It is as if they want to be in the headlines every week and for all the wrong reasons. Some may call the criticism unfair but its warranted with the number of high profile howlers growing by the week. Soon the question of match fixing will become part of the rugby conversation.  Instead of focusing on the rugby, most press conferences, around the world have resulted in talk of the referee decisions. Blues coach Tana Umaga the latest to highlight some inconsistencies. There were many a dubious call that are yet to be put to the fore.

  1. The neck roll on Schalk Ferreira by Sam Whitelock has yet to be cited and one has to wonder what the problem is. A result of the Southern Kings front row heading back home.
  2. It was almost the howler of the year for me, Jaco Peyper was about to send the Brumbies to the bin instead of the shower for punches. Had sanity not prevailed the Brumbies could have got away with that one.
  3. The punch by Nizaam Carr was missed amidst the punching row.
  4. Dillyn Lleyds’ try was actually inconclusive. There is a grey area on this one and I await an explanation from the South African referees on how this was a try.

Law 22.1 & 22.2 state- There are two ways a player can ground the ball:

(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. ‘Holding’ means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required.

(b) Player presses down on the ball. A player grounds the ball when it is on the ground in the in-goal and the player presses down on it with a hand or hands, arm or arms, or the front of the player’s body from waist to neck inclusive.

The list will go on, unless teams adapt on a game to game basis they will struggle. What you will be penalised for in one week, you will be allowed in another. The Reds-Blues clash was an example of an official not sure about the breakdown /scrum laws with some contentious calls. Surely there can be ways in which the officials fix this trend before it gets worse.

The use of neutral officials in clashes could be of help. Watching the Jaguares game against the Chiefs; one has to wonder what SANZAAR are a aiming at with the officials finding themselves making some rather one sided calls on occasion. One has to feel for the Argentinians who have had to face this all season.

All attack, no defence

The Lions managed to put the Cheetahs to the sword and further exposed the Bloemfontein side’s inability to tackle, cover the support runners and read the play of the opposition. The Cheetahs have a tournament high of 116 tackles. A further 38 more than the beleaguered Kings who show some bright sparks but lack the nous to dominate an 80 minute game. The Bloemfontein side is still in rebuilding but would have done well to focus on defence first this season to heal an Achilles heel that has derailed them in the last decade. The chances are looking good that South Africa will harbour at least two of the worst sides in the competition. While most sides will battle with balance the Cheetahs just seem to forget the entire aspect that is defence.

Team of the week:

My team of the week this weekend features a few surprise players and the top performers in:

Warrick Gelant (Blue Bulls); Ruan Combrinck (Lions); Johnny-Ben Kotze (Stormers); Howard Mnisi (Lions); Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders); Elton Jantjes (Lions); Faf de Klerk (Lions); Jed Holloway (Waratahs); Sean McMahon (Rebels); Elliot Dixon (Highlanders); Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers); Blade Thomson (Hurricanes); Marcel van der Merwe (Blue Bulls); Malcolm Marx (Lions);  Sef Faagase (Reds)

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  1. I don’t think they are seeking limelight.
    I say this as someone DISTRAUGHT that Romaine Potite isn’t rotting in a jail cell somewhere detonation of one of the most looked forward to test matches in modern history.
    An exception may be the now retired NZ ( or Aus who knows they both sound alike) dark haired ref that had a tattoo on his left arm that had some dorky ref/rugby motto on it?
    What a goob that guy was. He’s probably an interior designer somewhere now.
    In other news…
    BC must be suffering from being out in the sun too long or having an overly festive Saturday night.
    I see he has not edited the first draft typo that puts Warrick Gelant ABOVE Messerschmitt-Willie LeRoux in the SA 15 this week.
    We all make mistakes I just wanted to point this one out for revision/correction process that all journalistic endeavors adhere to.

  2. Also – I think it would be cool to have an asterik next to the names of players – at all times – that have been ” BC’d ” meaning they have been put through the vetting gauntlet of a BC interview so you know that they are mentally tough.

  3. Hahaha that is a classic Americano! Haha, It was a good weekend. I believe in giving others an opportunity to see some lime light!

  4. I watched the footage a few times and there was no clear evidence that Carr threw a punch. One can see his arm swinging but nothing on how or where it connected. The Brumbie’s elbow and punch were very clear.

    The try, in my opinion was a bad call. With no clear video evidence the ruling should have defaulted to what it appeared to have been in real time – lost forward.

  5. @Timeo: contentious but I am certain Carr was punching there. Still doesn’t refute the poor officiating.

  6. @Benedict Chanakira:

    Being certain without evidence is not enough to card or cite a player. The same with judging the officials. To be credible, you have to present evidence and you have to interpret the laws correctly.

  7. Case in point is the try.

    It depends on what they were looking for during the replay. Clear evidence that he maintained contact or clear evidence that he lost contact? There was neither. In my opinion it should have been the former, but according to Peyper’s explanation during the replay it was not. If you think this was incorrect, you should point us to the laws or rulings that say so.

  8. Being certain with no evidence is not enough to card or cite a player. If one wants to be credible when criticizing the officials you have to point to the evidence as well as the laws.

  9. @Timeo: The law confirms the try was not correct. Considering he was not ‘holding’ the ball. He wasn’t even controlling the ball and his own admission should have been enough.

    Carr swung his arm.What was he trying to do? Push the guy? The action looked like a punch. It is similar to the Rohan Janse van Rensburg-Clayton Bloometjies high ball contest. Rohan was jumping for the ball but Clayton went higher. Law says it was correct.

  10. Looked at it, that is enough to punish Carr for a punch. He swung his arm there.

  11. @Bekke: Contradicting yourself there mate.

    If a punch is a punch, intend is irrelevant.

    and that IS according to the rules.

    It does not foolproof poor officiating though.

  12. There are lots of swinging arms on a rugby field that are not treated as punches. When a player is held at a ruck he will normally strike at the other guy’s arm. That is allowed. If he mis the arm and strike the face he is carded. If he strike at the face and mis he gets off. Intent is not considered. Carr may have intended a punch but unless it was seen to land on a face it won’t be punished.

  13. @Benedict Chanakira:

    Under high balls, the burden of safety is always on the team that chose to kick. Else taking out the fullback with pretend jumps will decome a common tactic.

  14. @Timeo: Hence the two grey areas. RJvR didnt look like making a pretend jump but the law bit him like i said. If only a punch to the face is punishable could be a tricky few months ahead. The coincidence that it was a scuffle and the only evidence we had was a single arm is not enough. Agree to disagree. You raised a strong point.

  15. I don’t see a Carr punch or even pretend punch in that footage.

    What Kolisi did was definitely punishable, it was as clear as day what he was doing.

  16. @GrootBull: We see differently I guess. As for the Kolisi incident. Half the world was divided and some felt it wasn’t. Jonathan Kaplan an experienced referee strongly disagreed with the call too. 50-50 that one.

  17. BC, even Nick Mallett agrees Kolisi and Stormers were screwed, but blinker kenners know better. I fear a backlash against our players overseas.

  18. Who is the #1 Fan of these controversey causing refereeing decisions?
    Look no further ( surely you can’t look around him! ) than Adrian Strauss of ZeeBulls.

    Were it not for the round & round of missed/close ref calls – all eyes would be on Adrian & how he may be the worst captain ZeeBulls have EVER had.

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