Anyone but Goddard?

2009-04-07 21:47
Cheetahs in action (Gallo)
By Pieter Jordaan - Volksblad

Bloemfontein – The Cheetahs and Sharks will enter unknown territory with young Australian referee Nathan Pearce set to officiate Saturday’s Super14 derby.

Australian referee Matt Goddard damaged his own reputation and that of the Cheetahs with his mistakes in last Saturday’s match against the Brumbies.

Arrie Schoonwinkel, a South African member of the Sanzar panel that awards matches in a weekly basis, says Pearce is one of the younger referees. He is a member of the back-up panel that was selected prior to the start of the Super14.

“There is a merit panel of nine referees for the series. The idea is to award most of the matches to them. Then there is a back-up panel, which includes Pearce and South Africa’s Phillip Bosch,” said Schoonwinkel.

Of the nine referees on the merit panel only eight have been officiating as New Zealand’s Steve Walsh was withdrawn. The great workload has forced Sanzar to award certain games to members of the back-up panel.

They get the less important games and in Pearce’s case that is the one between the Cheetahs and Sharks.

Pearce has only officiated in one Super14 game, which was last year. He may be unknown but many teams will prefer something unknown to Goddard.

Goddard’s clanger when he ruled out a try by Danwel Demas for off-side play has infuriated many local rugby fans.

The call came at a critical stage when a try for the Cheetahs would have shifted the momentum of the game to the Cheetahs. The Brumbies ended up winning 40-27.

Goddard’s performance will be analysed by Sanzar’s panel of referees on Thursday. His performance may impact on his chances of refereeing big games in the future.

He was briefly stripped on his status after the game between the Hurricanes and Bulls in Wellington.

Had it not been for an injury to compatriot James Leckie, he might not have been in charge of the game between the Cheetahs and Brumbies.


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