IRB's Paddy not playing fair

2010-08-05 11:42

JJ Harmse

The Springboks are really lucky, we are told by one of their big sponsors, as they have 23 players taking the field on any given Saturday.

Player 23, who represents all those who support the team, is there on our behalf. That’s great for the Boks to know, I am sure.

Unfortunately for the Boks, they can have as many Player 23’s as they wish, if they don’t have player 31, they are stuffed.

And they have been stuffed, have they not?

Four yellow cards, numerous debatable decisions and three suspensions are the result of player 31 in recent weeks.

Player 31 also had a massive impact on the match between the All Blacks and Wallabies in Brisbane, but it seemed that player 33 actually had to pay the price.

Poor Cobus Wessels.

Here he is, being sacked for making two mistakes, one of them involving an incident where Drew Mitchell tackled Richie McCaw. The way things have been going for McCaw, one could have expected a red for Mitchell, daring to tackle the All Blacks captain at all!

After all, was it not Jamie Heaslip who saw red earlier this season when he tried to knee McCaw in the head?

Anyway, it seems that the tackle was not worth the yellow recommended by Wessels, as judged afterwards by Paddy O’Brien, the big IRB boss of all players 31's.

In addition, Wessels actually called a skew lineout throw against the All Blacks, when it was straight! How dare he, no wonder Paddy was upset.

But then something even worse happened. Mitchell prevented the All Blacks from taking a quick throw-in after referee Craig Joubert had warned both captains that he will not stand for any deliberate attempts to slow down quick-tap penalties and quick throw-ins. He even marched both teams 10 yards when they did that.

So what does Mitchell do? He prevented a quick throw-in two minutes into the second half, giving Joubert no option but to send him packing.

Now Wessels becomes the villain? How do you explain that, Paddy?

Mitchell knew very well that slowing the ball down was off-limits. His team was spoken to about it. He still did it and got burned. So suddenly Wessels is wrong and is dumped?

It is pretty much like dropping your goal kicker who missed in the opening minute of the match and the last kick of the game, because if he kicked the first one, your team would have been ahead by the time he missed the last one!

Also, were all match officials not advised by their SANZAR bosses to ‘over-react’ rather than ‘under-react’ when they had their big refereeing conference? Yes, they were.

And please explain to us, Paddy, how is it possible that a touch judge who missed Jimmy Cowan pulling back Bakkies Botha AND Botha head butting Cowan seconds later, goes unpunished, but poor Wessels get nailed? Surely not because he is from South Africa?

Maybe because the complainants are from Australia then? Remember, you acted on their instruction earlier this year as well when you removed Steve Walsh from a Super 14 game after complaints by a certain Australian Super 14 team.

Sorry if it seems that I am clutching at straws here, but a lot of things happening at the moment in your department seem a bit confusing.

Why is it again that when New Zealand and Australia play, they get the top three referees in the Southern Hemisphere, who also handled 90% of the Super 14 games these players have played this year, but when South Africa play any of those two countries, we get referees from the Northern Hemisphere?

Your referees are impartial and should be able to handle any match, are they not? If not, you may have a massive problem at next year’s Rugby World Cup.

If South Africa make the final, playing say New Zealand, will this mean that the best two teams in the world will play the final but will only be reffed by number four or five from your ranks? That’s not fair, is it?

Anyway, I suppose one needs to congratulate you because there was actually some reaction on what you call a poor performance by one of your boys. I also believe that the yellow cards flashed so far in the competition, but for the two tip tackles, were wrong.

What also was wrong is the way no yellow cards were issued to McCaw in Wellington and Australia's David Pocock in Brisbane.

The All Blacks, as wonderful as they have played this year (although most of the time against 14 men) have conceded 34 penalties so far in Tri-Nations.

Twelve in Auckland, nine in Wellington and 13 in Melbourne. But no cards. The Springboks have conceded 24 (5 + 9 + 10) and got four cards...

Two of those, Bakkies Botha in Auckland and BJ Botha in Brisbane, were for slowing the ball down or so called professional fouls. Yet, the most penalised team get warning upon warning.
Mmm, maybe Peter de Villiers is right after all...

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

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  • afrikanerbul - 2010-08-05 11:58

    Dis nou wat ek noem 'n goeie artikel

  • Brett - 2010-08-05 12:00

    Wonderful piece, I agree with you. Now, does SARU have any teeth to tackle this IRB matter at all?

  • Pire - 2010-08-05 12:01

    I have actualy been watching less and less rugby this year, due to the quality of the refereeing. A player makes a mistake, gets suspended for a few weeks. A ref makes numerous "mistakes", nothing happens. Players dont have a hand in the outcome of matches anymore, the refs do. A yello card in the 1st 10 minutes for both games against the all blacks are sure to give them an atvantage. The ref just needs to wait for the slightest reason to award it, and his job is done. Now IRB sacks a lines man for 2 mistakes??? Paddy Blatter, sorry O' Brian is killing the sport with the standards they allow. Refs should be held accountable for their actions, just like the players, otherwise more and more fans will turn their backs on the sport.

  • JJ - 2010-08-05 12:08

    Brilliant JJ, BRILLIANT!

  • bloubakkies - 2010-08-05 12:09

    maybe it's time to take a break from the tri-nations and rather join the 6 Nations. let's face it, ever since the super 10 we have been receiving the short straw in ref decisions from paddy and co. lets see how much they get for tv rights, etc when the tri nations are being played by aus, nz and argentina. who needs who more?

  • Cobretti - 2010-08-05 12:13

    JJ stop blaming the refs for the Blue Bulls players playing so crap in the side, if Wynand Olivier would stop playing selfish crash-rugby and our fullback would stop planting kick and pray "Gary Owen" 's, we could maybe win a few games and then we would not have to put the blame on the refs!!!!!!

  • Theo - 2010-08-05 12:14

    Paddy has always had it in for the "Yarpies" and had some real virtuouso performances against us, culminating in the sending off of Janus Labuschagne at Twickenham. He arched his little back in absolute joy when awarding the penalty and sending Janus off. His mate the self-loathing South African referee "Wattie" does nothing about it. "Wattie" has not done anything about obscenities like McHugh awarding a game to the All Blacks that the Boks won in Durban a few years ago. He might just not be friends with Paddy and the club anymore if he does.

  • Colin - 2010-08-05 12:14

    Agree! This is nonesense. The reffing has been shocking against the boks. It is not the main reasons for the losses but plays a huge roll on moral and the outcome of the game! Boks have a lot to fix, but by the same standard, the refs do too!

  • Chris M - 2010-08-05 12:18

    @ JJ Harmse . . . .Stop whinning, enough is enough Find something new to keep small minds amussed

  • Tilt - 2010-08-05 12:19

    You said it - good article

  • BARRY - 2010-08-05 12:20

    Uitstekend !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Laat weet maar hoeveel ons moet bydra wanneer hulle jou aankla.

  • StuartW - 2010-08-05 12:20

    Dis seker die enigste artikel wat JJ skryf wat goed is....baie geluk JJ....

  • Aussie Ausbourne - 2010-08-05 12:22

    Get over it.

  • gatvolvirmoangatte - 2010-08-05 12:27

    Asb asb asb hou op kla. Siud Afrikaners het minder van Australie begin hou omdat hulle kommentators en media heeltyd oor die skeidsregter en alles behalwe hul spel begin kla het. Ja, daar was sekere besluite teen ons maar verlede jaar was dit vir ons, dit is hoe sport werk. Maar om heeltyd te begin moan as daar n besluit teen jou span gaan maak my lam. Dit maak my rerig lam. Hou op kla JJ, moangat!

  • Stan the Man - 2010-08-05 12:28

    I couldn't agree less, Pdv was right in a way, the 'clown" just interpreted it wrong. How do they decide who refs which games? Not to say we should have won either of the games, we were outplayed as a whole, but the ref had a lot to do with the fact that our players' minds were not set on the game.

  • Clibo - 2010-08-05 12:30

    Geniet altyd JJ se atikels, al skree hy vir die Bulle!

  • MarkCT - 2010-08-05 12:33

    JJ, A good article except for your closing suggestion that it vindicates Peter De Villiers' outbursts......It does not. Nonetheless, can someone tell me if there is some formal process whereby the content of JJ's article is actually conveyed to the IRB, and a response demanded ??

  • Robert - 2010-08-05 12:35

  • Grant - 2010-08-05 12:35

    Spot on! Those stats on penalties and cards tell the story. What would be interesting is if you could drill it down further to penalties conceeded by the Blacks in the "red zone" because that will clearly indicate the need for the yellow cards........which didnt materialise.

  • SA R nongs - 2010-08-05 12:40

    Geez JJ, i was wondering where all this SA paranoia came from, It's columnists like you! Perhaps you can explain why the boks have conceded the least penalties per games so far in the TN? NZ 12.3 per game. Aust 8.5 and SA 7.7 You've also had the least shots at goal from the penalties you've been awarded. NZ 43%, Aust 46% and SA 20%. Which ever way you look at this it appears the boks are not using their top few inches

  • Emile - 2010-08-05 12:41

    So spot on! It will even cause tears in the eyes of those one-eyed Aus/NZ supporters who suddenly think they should flood our Super 24 Blog with their comments.

  • mike - 2010-08-05 12:44

    Great Article, use the facts to nail the them. They say its an emotional reaction to our guys loosing but come on we are a pretty well informed supporter base thanks to some great rugby programes. Time we got some official answers to these questions? How about not getting a ref to judge refs but maybe some coaches or ex-players? They obviously not capable of judging there own guys.

  • Rugbyfan - 2010-08-05 12:45

    As much as I would like to say STOP WHINGEING, I have to grudgingly admit you have a point or 2 here JJ. Especially when you look at the stats.

  • Y U R losing - 2010-08-05 12:46

    This video clearly shows why the refs are bais against the South Africans..

  • Zwivhuya - 2010-08-05 12:50

    JJ, I like the way you have written this article because it highlights the same plight that the so-called "whingers" would be accused of whingeing about. Mr O'Brien has really handled matters in very confusing ways over the last few weeks. I wondered why we have Northern Hemisphere referees handling matches under different law variations to what is played in the North, whereas we have more than capable Southern refs who have been busy week in and week out in S14 duty, who know the pace and understand the Southern game 10 times better than the rookie Clancy et al. I just think there must be fairness. NZ and Aus are playing really well and deserved to win against us, but highlighting shorcomings of the refs cannot be called whingeing just because we lost. We've been crying out about these injustices for ages. We pulled "Justice4Bakkies" when we were riding the winning wave didn't we?

  • wcp - 2010-08-05 12:50

    Brilliant, no-nonsense on the button article JJ! Paddy openly acts as if he is untouchable! Judging from various forums, most Supporters (I obviously mean Bok supporters) share the same opinion, and it would be much appreciated if your article / message could be circulated to reach, i.e. the highest echelons at SARU, SANZAR & the IRB. I trust also, that our Administrators would demand a commission of enquiry into this matter!

  • Andrew - 2010-08-05 12:51

    Please could someone send this article to SANZAR and O'Brien!!! Excellent.

  • Sportbilly - 2010-08-05 12:51

    Anyone who thinks that the AB's get away with murder at the breakdown, have a look at this. Vindicated by an Aussie no less!

  • sef - 2010-08-05 12:56

    Great Article,you really cant blame Snor for suggesting that theres a consipary against the Boks..Paddy u WA#*KER

  • the pride - 2010-08-05 12:57

    i have never really commented on this whole issue but the time has come where enough is enough, i remember 10 years ago my father going on about how the aus and newzee's have always had it in for us, but things have just spirled out of control at an alarming rate and all just so one country can have one-up on the other, for god sake cant we just see a descent game of rugby! these days they are becoming less and less and more question marks are being put around interpertation of the game then actual play, forgive me if im wrong but in essense isn't a game meant to be easy and basic as to make intepreting the game trasparent for all to understand, isn't that why we as the public love this game so much??? these days all we seem to be getting is biased ref's and the head of the governing body is the jackie selibi of the rugby world! as much as i have loved the tri-nations seeing the 3 best rugby nations in the world going at each other on the rugy pitch for years, its all starting to become washed out dew to all these law changes and blatant ref inconsistencies that i actually agree to buoy coating the sanzar agreement and start a new internation competion with countries that want to play the game, and not win by default

  • John - 2010-08-05 13:05

    When playing rugby with a ref that dislikes you, it’s like riding your bike uphill. It’s thought, you have to work for your points and wins don’t come easy. If in the next game a neutral ref appears you will play outstanding rugby. Unfortunately in our case we had a downhill super 14 ref for the bulls and the stormers which where treated by the best of our SA refs through to the final. Now the refs are neutral in the tri nations and South Africans are a bit bad losers at this stage regarding any call a ref makes. So please, stop crying and start playing rugby.

  • Tugboat - 2010-08-05 13:07

    Spot on JJ - I have to wonder though whether the IRB would've tried this shit when Louis Luyt was still in charge of SA Rugby? And why are the rest of the rugby playing nations not saying anything? Afraid that they are next on Paddy's list? Hopefully Jonathan hands out a few more cards this weekend. IRB has no credibility whatsoever and don't have enough character to let it worry them.

  • Nick - 2010-08-05 13:13

    Well written - but what does it help - never thought I would ever hear myself say this but due to the entire debacle - I may not even watch the remainder of the Tri nations - or the WC for that matter - The way the IRB and SARFU administrate the game makes it very un appealing.

  • Mike - 2010-08-05 13:13

    Fantastic article, it's just a shame that the people concerned won't ever read it.

  • Justice for SA - 2010-08-05 13:14

    I have to agree with Brett! Lets hope SARU have teeth because it is very obvious that they do not have any BALLS.

  • World Cup - 2010-08-05 13:15

    Brilliant article JJ - please send it to Andre Watson so he can accidentally forward it to Paddy.

  • JOHAN BLOU BUL JOUBERT - 2010-08-05 13:16


  • STORMER - 2010-08-05 13:26

    Harden the f@ck up South Africa.

  • Ryan - 2010-08-05 13:29

    brilliant article! you realy hit the nail on the head! i would like to know if SANZAR will respond.

  • @SA r nongs - 2010-08-05 13:31

    You ask - "Why have the boks have conceded the least penalties per games so far in the TN? NZ 12.3 per game. Aust 8.5 and SA 7.7", it's because SA are the only ones playing to the correct laws at the breakdown you NONG!

  • Dr F - 2010-08-05 13:33

    An interesting, humourus, factual article that was very well written

  • Frank - 2010-08-05 13:34

    And let's not forget end of last year.Castro Giovanni scrums the Boks to pieces for Leicester in a tour game in England.A week later he does the same for Italy against NZ whereafter Paddy O'Brien forces Stuart Dickenson to apologize to the All Blacks for his poor handling of the scrums in that test match! Unbelievable!

  • Yes - 2010-08-05 13:41

    Paddy O'Brien = cheating old fart......

  • Paul - 2010-08-05 13:42

    I don't like all the referee bashing that is part of rugby at the moment. Don't get me wrong, it was always part of rugby for the supporters of a losing team to complain. But, at the moment, it is getting to a point where I don't even want to watch international rugby anymore. The problem that we as South Africans are alway going to be faced with, is that we are never going to have the best referees to blow our games. The fact is that 3 of the 4 best in the world is from out shores! The other thing worth noting is that since O'Brien became head honcho, it seems that more and more problems are arising in the refereeing of games. Maybe he is the problem, and maybe it is time to start looking at his conduct?

  • Reality - 2010-08-05 13:42

    @Cobretti and his gang of lonesome doves on this blog, read the article and comment on the merits of what JJ is commenting on please, before you get on your little pony. Sure the Boks are playing crap, we all know that and he coach is a clown, but does that make what is being pointed out here lees valid? JJ is spot on, different strokes for different strokes...

  • suurgatte - 2010-08-05 13:44

    .. Hulle (IRB) is maar net suur omdat Graig Joubert 'n paar geel kaart uitgedeel het vir Aussies en die Kiwis... ....klomp suurgatte...

  • looi - 2010-08-05 13:46

    ....hoop Jonathan Kaplan looi die Aussies en die Kiwis nou Saterdag... ...laat waai met die geel kaarte...!!

  • @Corbretti - 2010-08-05 13:46

    2 Corbretti. You probably one of those calling Bulls this and that and how one eyed their supporters are blablabla. Mate, if fat arsed January could pass a ball where he is supposed to and also stop kicking his useless badly placed box kicks which 90% of the time resulted in try against the boks, then the boks could play of the front foot a bit. Or if the overrated Stomers loosies could clean a freaking ruck properly for once then McCaw wouldn't be able to slow the boks ball down etc. Go play with your toys on the Highway and sommer get run over by a truck. Your comment sucks and if you whish to go down the route of having a go at certain players we can start you imbecile, you actually make Julies look good.

  • colin - 2010-08-05 13:51

    All I am asking for is for the Refs to apply the rules of the game consistently for both sides - currently when the Boks are on the field in the TN3 it was clear that both the Aussis and AB's were allowed to infringed at the breakdown and at times playing the ball illegally - I hope that the IRB bosses can demand constancy and remove refs that are clearly biased. Just want the Boks to know that I am 100% behind you guys - GO BOKKE!!!!!!!!!!

  • BLOUBUL - 2010-08-05 13:54

    another pathetic article...