Up yours! New Zealand style
- Styli Charalambous
- 02 Dec 2011 06:54 (South Africa)
I really do want to move on. Accept the World Cup fate of my beloved Springbok team and look to an exciting new chapter in South African rugby. One where the team and management are selected on merit and the opposition are smashed into the loser column time and time again. I really want to forget.
But New Zealand just doesn’t seem to want to play ball, instead mocking me, the other 49 million South Africans, and in fact, every sober-minded rugby lover on Earth. For the fourth time in his career, Bryce Lawrence was awarded the best referee in the New Zealand.
Watch Lawrence’s interpretation of “dangerous play”:
Now, we know the Kiwi’s aren’t exactly blessed with talent in the refereeing department, and yet amazingly still manage to head up the IRB panel of whistle-blowers. But surely, in a year when their top referee covered himself in the excrement of several equine animals on the biggest stage of world rugby, the very least they could have done was retire the category for the next four years in the presence of the stupendous performance of incompetence.
As I’ve recounted several times before, the IRB is to blame for the debacles caused by continuously poor refereeing decisions at the World Cup. Referees are not held accountable for shoddy interpretations and missed forward passes, with the most severe penalty being non-selection for the finals of the tournament. In probably the sternest “sentence” handed down to inept referees, Lawrence himself was “rested” by the IRB until June 2012, when they announced the officiating line-up of the upcoming Six Nations.
If rugby officials were subject to the same scrutiny of performance that players are, Lawrence should have been demoted to refereeing the U-7 junior leagues. In Outer Mongolia. With that performance, Lawrence ended the careers of several players and coaching staff, when it was his that should have been ended. Lawrence has a history of poor refereeing and the IRB missed an opportunity to raise the standards of rugby officiating by not making an example of him. Instead we now find rugby in the ludicrous position of celebrating a blatantly incompetent official.
Watch this analysis of Lawrence’s howler performance: Boks vs Wallabies at RWC11. Please excuse the length of the video:
In writing this column, my editor warned me to refrain from the use of expletives that seem to creep in every time a column involving everyone’s favourite New Zealander is mentioned. But instead of making this purely a whinge about Lawrence, I’d like to offer a positive spin by way of suggesting some feasible ways to improve officiating in Test rugby.
The game has evolved, from laws to coaching methods and, of course, the era of professionalism that brought with it almost superhuman rugby players, built like brick ablution facilities. And the one area that has struggled to keep pace with the rate of progress in rugby has been its officiating. With these highly complex laws, the very same breakdown situation could be subject to several varying interpretations. Laws, unfortunately, are likely to continue the trend of becoming more and more intricate meaning the job of the whistle-carrying men directing on field traffic will only become more challenging.
So how do we go about preventing another colossal travesty of rugby that we witnessed on 9 October? Well firstly, why not take a page out of the book of Aussie Rules Football where more than one man is entrusted with the officiating of the game. In this way the chances of a referee missing out on a forward pass or breakdown transgression, are greatly diminished. Sure, the interpretation angle may cause issues, but nothing that couldn’t be resolved by practice and some field ears communication.
Another option is to offer each captain the opportunity to substitute the ref at halftime for one of the assistant referees. Players get subbed for poor performances, why shouldn’t referees? That would certainly keep the men in the middle on their toes.
The television match official has been the most significant advance in officiating in rugby, and a most needed one at that. I shudder to think back at how many tries have been incorrectly awarded or disallowed prior to the TMO’s presence. And yet Lawrence has proved that further innovation in the field of refereeing is required. The outcome of a match, and potentially a tournament, was altered because of that unbelievable display. Something no true rugby fan can, or should, accept.
Whether more use of the television replays or officials should be used, in the way cricket has used the review system, is debatable. I’m sure each captain would love the opportunity to go upstairs and refer a penalty decision to another official, and in that case would work splendidly well. But the referral system would fall short when the penalty isn’t awarded and the game continues. It would be rather off-putting to players, as well as spectators, for a captain to stop the game, as they do in tennis, to query the decision mid-game.
I’ve heard some commentators say we should put on our big girl panties and stop whinging about THAT game. The Kiwi’s seem to have the loudest chants of that particular mantra, given their own refereeing injustice in the 2007 World Cup. To which I respond that a single overlooked forward pass simply cannot compare to an 80-minute display of ineptitude. And if we don’t make a big deal of this, how will refereeing ever get any better? DM
- Read the writing on the paywall
- Balancing the budget, NDP-style
- Harnessing the power: ANC in action
- Operation Mangaung 2012: chaos reigns supreme
- Survivor: Media edition
- South Africa's bittersweet Olympics
- Ernie Els recaptures form - and the Claret jug
- The 50 Shades of Victoria's Secret
- Prohibiting prohibition
- A brief history of rogue bankers
- Boks v England: Dour end to series win
- Meyer and Boks pass first test hurdle - just
- Speartackled: The real story
- First Thing with Styli Charalambous: UN Security Council condemns Syria attack
- My coming-out story
- Dear Heyneke Meyer, April Fools' is no more
- Masters: Bubba breaks South African hearts
- Will the gays and women please rise?
- Don't touch me on my sponsor
- 25 Billion reasons why Apple isn't going away anytime soon
- The Entrepreneur Chronicles: Q&A with Ronnie Apteker
- Entrepreneur chronicles: Snapbill
- The Entrepreneur Chronicles: Dave Blakey & Snapt
- Final whistle blows for Capello
- ANC's mining solutions: a depressing exercise
- Analysis: Facebook's $100-billion reality
- Djokovic triumphs in clash of the titans
- Rugby: Letting the tiger out the bag
- The changing face of cricket
- Australian Open preview: Clash of the Titans
- 2011 - The sporting year that wasn't
- Bridging the funding divide
- Up yours! New Zealand style
- Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best Springbok coach of all?
- What if Zuckerberg came from Sandton?
- Yippee - the Outsurance pointsmen are gone
- Six Nations is Bryce-less
- Kings of Leon: anything but a royal performance
- SA Tennis: no game, no set, no match
- Why the orchids of RWC 2011 reek of onions - An overview
- A generation later, All Blacks are World Champions again
- World Cup farce preview
- End of the Federer era? Don't bet on it
- All Blacks bundle Australia out of RWC
- Sacrebleu! as France stumble into World Cup final
- Where to now, Bokke?
- Australia break South African hearts
- Wales polish off Ireland in Wellington
- Quarterfinal crunch time at RWC
- Weekend of wonder at Rugby World Cup
- Boks bruise their way to win over Samoa
- All Blacks boss France off Auckland's Eden Park
- Bok selections: good headaches to have
- Jesus, the USA and gay rights
- Irish make mockery of the formbook and Australia
- Boks blow Fijians away in Wellington
- Boks scrape through in Wellington thriller
- The time has come: crouch, touch, pause... Engage!
- 'I got World Cup fever; she got World Cup fever!'
- Sonny Bill Williams and Rugby Union: End of a brief but dazzling affair?
- Wallabies beat All Blacks in Brisbane bruiser
- A team of 30, backed by a team of millions
- Hope restored as Boks put All Blacks to bed
- Smith's exit could be Boks' Achilles Heel
- US Open - last chance saloon for the Fed express
- John Smit drops to Bok bench for All Blacks encounter
- Moment of truth awaits the Boks in Durban
- The Global Financial Crisis - a bedtime story
- Blackout at Eden Park, as All Blacks demolish Wallabies
- Tri-Nations decider - a Pacific skirt-lifting affair
- Why I'm betting on the Boks to bring home the Rugby World Cup
- All Blacks blow Boks off Wellington's Westpac Park
- Tri-Nations preview: Winds of Wellington will blow Boks away
- Wallaby display dazzles Bok B-Team
- Tri-Nations: Short-term pain for World Cup gain
- Super Rugby fairytale Crusaders ending ruined by Red devils
- Brisbane promises breathtaking rugby as Reds face off to Crusaders
- Crusaders storm into Super 15 Final
- Serving up more economic empowerment
- LinkedIn: Taking the office Xmas party public
- Analysis: 100 billion reasons for Zuckerberg to smile
- U2 in Johannesburg - the real greatest show on earth
- Tis the season to be jolly, so hush about the church's lolly
- Beware the state of Nanny McUnfree
- Is the Internet is making us stoopid?
- Time to face reality about steroids?
- Cooler than English?
- In defence of Tiger