Balie Swart to assist referees
Johannesburg - Balie Swart, a World Cup-winning Springbok in 1995, has been given an innovative new role by SA Rugby to assist coaches and referees in the proper application of scrum law.
Swart was announced as a referee selector for the 2010 season by SA Rugby on Tuesday but will have a dual role as a go-between for coaches and the refereeing hierarchy and as a coach of legal scrumming technique.
"Balie worked with our referees throughout the 2009 season on a one-on-one basis to keep them up to date with scrumming technique and how it impacted on the application of Law by match officials," said Andre Watson, SA Rugby's manager of referees.
"We've now appointed him as a referee selector 2010 and, in addition, coaches are invited to bring matters to his attention regarding refereeing. There is a misconception that the refereeing community closes ranks and that it is pointless to raise issues. Hopefully the appointment of Balie will provide a channel for coaches to raise their concerns through a channel with which they can more easily relate."
In addition Swart will also be available to assist teams in coaching legal and safe scrumming technique, according to the Law and the protocols of SA Rugby's BokSmart rugby safety programme.
"Safety is obviously a primary concern at the scrum and Balie will be able to advise coaches on those aspects as well as those areas where they're going to get penalised by referees," said Watson.
"We're constantly looking to improve the performance of our referees and hopefully this initiative will allow us to raise the bar even higher."