Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Johannesburg - South African rugby fans believe neutral referees should handle both Super Rugby and Test matches.
That is if a readers’ poll conducted by Sport24 early this week is any yardstick.
We asked the question: “Should neutral referees be appointed to handle Super Rugby and Test matches?”
And of some 3 300 respondents, not much fewer than two-thirds of them (1 934 at the time of writing) preferred the first of three answer options: “Definitely, it takes away all chance of favouritism.”
A smaller lobby (974) liked option two: “Happy to have the best man for the job officiate, even if he’s not neutral.”
Perhaps with tongues ever so slightly in cheeks, 396 respondents went for the third possible answer: “Are you suggesting refs cheat?”
We posted the survey in the wake of complaints by Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske
after his charges had lost to the Sharks in Bloemfontein last weekend - he claimed the (all-South African) match officials overlooked various foul play incidents against his team.
Marius Jonker had the whistle, with assistance from Jonathan Kaplan and Cobus Wessels.
Another all-SA panel, this time with vastly experienced Kaplan the main man and Mark Lawrence and Phillip Bosch as his assistants, handles the key derby on Saturday between the Stormers and Bulls at Newlands.