Breakdown warning from refs
André Watson (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - South Africa's refereeing boss André Watson says referees have been told to be very strict when handling the breakdown area in the upcoming season.
This comes after feedback to SANZAR from various coaches.
"The feedback from the coaches was that there needs to be better policing of offside play at the breakdowns. There were numerous scenarios where the defending team was offside for a number of phases and got away with it," Watson told Die Burger
"There's no rule change but the offside rule will be applied strictly and the player making the tackle has to role away. A player assisting in making a tackle - but who's on his feet - should also show daylight before he'll be allowed to try and win the ball.
"At the same time it was said that strong action must be taken when the attacking team protects the ball illegally. The guys go off their feet to protect the ball or are sometimes on all fours and not on their feet.
"The retention of possession needs to be based on your skills and not on the illegal retention of for example falling over the ball," said Watson.
The first sign of a referee being more vigilant was on Friday night in the pre-season clash between the Stormers and the Lions.
Jaco Peyper penalised the Stormers on 20 occasions - a number their coach Allister Coetzee
is worried about despite them winning the game 28-6.