IRB axe Bryce, Kaplan

2012-03-24 11:06

Dublin - As part of its ongoing review process and commitment to ensuring consistency and that the best referees are selected on form to officiate in the biggest matches in the run up to Rugby World Cup 2015, the IRB has announced a restructured and more streamlined selection process overseen by a vastly experienced committee.

According to the IRB website, the committee, which includes former elite referees Lyndon Bray, Tappe Henning (both SANZAR), Donal Courtney and Clayton Thomas (both Six Nations), will now meet four times per year and make selections for the next international window with all performances reviewed as part of the next round of international selections.

Following a thorough review of performances during the recently concluded Six Nations, the selection committee commitment to promoting consistency has been reflected in the latest selections with nine elite referees appointed to the top games in what is a busy June international window that also sees the beginning of the schedule involving tours to Tier 2 Unions.

They are:

George Clancy (Ireland)
Jérôme Garcès (France)
Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Nigel Owens (Wales)
Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Romain Poite (France)
Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Steve Walsh (Australia)

The Springboks' three-Test series against England in June will be reffed by Steve Walsh (Durban and Port Elizabeth) and Alain Rolland (Johannesburg).

All June's referee appointments

Underscoring its commitment to ensuring selection on form, there will now be four selection meetings per year to tie in with the four international windows. At each meeting, the referee panel for the next international window will be reviewed and named.

The committee agreed that the key areas of the game identified for particular focus by referees needed constant reviewing.

Those five key areas are:

- All aspects of the tackle with particular emphasis to be placed on the tackler releasing the tackled player and rolling away and arriving players staying on their feet
- Offside at the breakdown
- Offside from kicks   
- All aspects of the scrum, particularly the engagement process and front-row binding
- All aspects of the maul, particularly what constitutes legal maul defence

As part of the restructure, IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien has chosen to take on a new challenge after seven years of excellent service in his present role. Having played an instrumental role in the advancement of elite match official preparation and performance, including the management of the referee team at two Rugby World Cups, he has decided that he requires a fresh challenge.

O’Brien will now focus his extensive experience into a similar role for rugby Sevens, underlining the IRB’s commitment to Sevens ahead of rugby making its return to the Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He remains central to the match official process and is supportive of the restructure.

The process for replacing O’Brien will be announced in due course.


  • Koos - 2012-03-24 11:30

    Elite ref Tappe Henning. What are these guys smoking? What a joke.

      Lourie - 2012-03-24 11:33

      Jy moet dalk LEES koos. Tappe is op die PANEL.

      Maaifoedie - 2012-03-24 11:49

      Not so quick Lourie; Tappe Henning was never an elite referee. To be honest he was better-known for his filthy divorce than his refereeing skills. The omission of Bryce is an almighty relief and I trust him and his dad; and the entire New Zealand for that understand that this is a big fat middle finger to all of them. May we never ever again have to look at is fat fugly face.

      Koos - 2012-03-24 12:07

      @Lourie Jy moet dalk weer lees my vriend: which includes former elite referees Lyndon Bray, Tappe Henning (both SANZAR),

      andre.ernstzen - 2012-03-24 13:01

      Hallelujah! Good riddance Bryce & Paddy!

      Spyker - 2012-03-24 14:35

      Real funny to see, the best Australia has on offer is 'p1sscat' Steve Walsh, who is actually from NZ (who chased him away after he had been given several last chances, before turning up at a referee's meeting in 2009, looking "worse for wear".., AGAIN...). Kaplan was just a flash in the pan - I never rated him. Most pertinently, it was only his bias towards the Sharks that made him more of a hero in "The Last Outpost", than a certain Mr Lawrence is.., now hopefully WAS, 'Way, way, Down Under'... Craig Joubert is by any measure the best ref in the world. Peyper is good, but lucky to be on the 'elite' list already. I think though, Marius Jonker could easily have made the list - but that would imply that we have the greatest number of 'elite' refs in the world - surely that cannot be true.., or can it Paddy..?

      Alan - 2012-03-24 16:13

      Clancy, Owens and Rolland have all shown under Paddy and incredible ability to be bias - Rolland being the worst of them. Steve Welsh must be the worlds most incompetant ref, drunkard and cheat. Jouberet is the most accomplished cheat of them all. He gifted the RWC to NZ and before anyone says "but they deserved it", remember in sport there is no "deserved" there is earned and you have to earn it in the final. It was in the final that France beat the kiwi's but for Craigs incredible display of oh paddy my boss bias. However he was better at it than the others, a much more skillful rigging of the rwc result than say box bryce. I would have swapped blou bul joubert for honest Mark Lawrence. Mark's problem is he won't play ball with paddy and rig matches / tournaments - kudos to you Mark! The irb and the ref panelare a farce and are fixing matches all year round!

      Eduard - 2012-03-25 12:04

      koos, you are a chop the committee, which includes former elite referees Lyndon Bray, Tappe Henning (both SANZAR)

      Saki - 2012-03-25 19:57

      @spyker may,craig joubert is the worst ref off them all. did you in all your wisdom even watch the wc final.

  • fran.boucher - 2012-03-24 11:35

    Laat dit vir hom 'n les wees.

  • hilton.ralphs - 2012-03-24 11:40

    Not so long ago Kaplan was the golden boy of refs. I bet his mom is going to be pissed.

      Jack - 2012-03-24 12:48

      I wouldn't be surprised to see Kaplan take over from Paddy O'brien...

      Franklyn - 2012-03-25 19:35

      Kaplan is ok,better than some of the panel.

  • Paul - 2012-03-24 11:52

    What about Alain Rolland (Ireland) & Steve Walsh (Australia)?

      Stormkaap - 2012-03-24 12:32

      I mean really ..Steve Walsh..say no more

  • martin.gee.godfrey - 2012-03-24 12:04

    Not so sure that Steve Walsh can still be considered "elite" either.

  • jtowell - 2012-03-24 12:11

    Since when is Steve Walsh from Australia?? Listen to his accent for 5 secs and you'll know he's a Kiwi!

      Terry - 2012-03-25 09:43

      Steve Walsh was basically chased out of NZ because he couldn't control his boozing - and he relocated to Australia where that is considered an asset. It says something about Australian referrees that Steve Walsh is now considered their best???

  • Craig - 2012-03-24 12:22

    whoops,the all black squad is down a player...

      Rod - 2012-03-24 16:13

      Craig they are in fact down two players if you take lice lawrence into account. He was their world cup (farce) winning player don't forget.

      Rich - 2012-03-25 05:07

      craig, look closer to home you loser.

      Craig - 2012-03-25 07:48

      hey rich ,you can tell when the truth has hit home when you respond with petty run to mommy and tell her the boys are picking on your little brycie.

      Erik - 2012-03-25 09:40

      Ouch rich!! That one got to you! Well said craig!! Can't be a good feeling to win the WC like they did! Nothing to be proud of6!!

  • Frans Van der Poll - 2012-03-24 12:32

    It's been a long time coming, but what about the other Lawrence?

      Peter - 2012-03-26 08:17

      Mark Lawrence? He has withdrawn from refereeing all internationals, after being overlooked for RWC.

  • pal.mabelane - 2012-03-24 12:38

    A little too late to act ob Malema with ANC. Do it once he has done the irrepairable damage.

  • Fred - 2012-03-24 12:51

    I don't follow rugby anymore such is the dereliction of duty of the IRB to produce reliable results. It's beyond ridiculous and irresponsible. Who wants to watch a sport where the match officials are talked about as much as the players. Dumb.

  • andre.ernstzen - 2012-03-24 12:57

    At the same time Bryce Lawrence gets the boot. Paddy o Brien steps down. Coincidence?

  • J.D. - 2012-03-24 13:16

    And lawrence was named NZ refreee of the year.The WC was rigged..

      Charles - 2012-03-24 13:53

      i second you on that one, the only other time NZ could win the cup was when we were not there.

      Alan - 2012-03-24 16:17

      Sorry JD, somehow news24 won't let me click the "like" button. All very frustrating. I suppose if it worled properly you would have 45million likes by now :-) and yes, the rwc was rigged!

      Erik - 2012-03-25 09:34

      Could not agree more!! The WC was clearly rigged and the victory can't be feeling anything less then hollow for the all blacks!

  • Charles - 2012-03-24 13:51

    I am pleased to see they have dropped Jonathan Kaplan, he is not consistent and personally i think he thinks he is bigger than the game....well done Sanzar, but you should review Craig Joubert as well!

      Spyker - 2012-03-24 14:08

      The report has nothing to do with Sanzar...

      Paul - 2012-03-24 15:13

      Agree on Kaplan, Charles. Remember the days when you hardly knew the refs' names? Nowadays most of them think they're celebrities.

  • stefanjacobs123 - 2012-03-24 16:15

    The article didn't once mention Bryce or Kaplan being axed...

      Erik - 2012-03-25 09:28

      The article contains the list off elite refs and the two refs in question is not on the list!

      Jaco - 2012-03-25 11:41

      Yes Erik, their names weren't there, but so too about 50 other international refs. The title is sensationalist and misleading. Not only were their axing not mentioned, not even their names appear in the article. Really poor journalism.

  • Willie - 2012-03-24 22:08

    Ol' Paul earlier said it.....Where are the days when the referee was never seen, heard and remembered after the game. There was a time when you could count their mistakes on one hand !!! But, because of that idiot O'Brien, the refs are more important than the game.......after all, a R2 m salary changes things quite a bit, huh ??

  • Ken - 2012-03-24 23:39

    Take that Fother Mucker!

  • Gary - 2012-03-25 06:28

    Justice is done,Bryce Lawrence should go and sharpen his skills at New Zealand high school games.Arsehole!

  • Abri - 2012-03-25 08:36

    Nou ja toe, it seems that the best guys for the panel, were not considered at all, obviously it should have been some of the guys commenting in this panel, from the looks of their commentary, they know far better than these experts.

  • Terry - 2012-03-25 09:46

    Now if we can only get Bryce Lawrence dropped out of the Sanzar panel!

  • owlcritic - 2012-03-25 13:00

    Was jonathan Kaplan south Africas sacrifice to get rid of Bryce Lawrence?

      Franklyn - 2012-03-25 19:36

      100 %...and they basically admitted it by adding 2 other South Africans,bloody politics.

  • Chad - 2012-03-25 13:10

    refereeing is killing rugby, but not just because of the refs. continual law changes, revised interpretations of the laws and continual shift of focus on different aspects of the laws is also contributing. and then you see tappe henning being a key decision maker in rugby union and forces the question, is there competent leadership in rugby union? I thinI not, and is highlighted by the muddled world cup and super 15 games and the puzzled bemusement on the faces of the players in the game rugby union will die if this farce is not addressed....

  • Frans - 2012-03-25 13:16

    @Koos watse kennis het jy en almal wat Tappa Henning kritiseer nou eintlik van hom as skeidsregter.Hy was n klompie jare gelede n internasionale skeidsregter van formaat, en sou sekerlik nie sy huidige posisie beklee het as hy nie geskik was nie

  • Zion - 2012-03-25 15:04

    So much talk about the most astute Kaplan and look what happens to him. Supposedly on of the best in the world. On the same note one may claim IRB being the only organization of that nature to be the best judge of referee in the world. So many comments are published where nincompoops express garbage and emotional sentiments which goes nowhere nor can it possibly add value to any other decision whatsoever. As for Bryce Lawrence the man has made it as far as we do not want to admit. our opinions are seriously clouded by embarrassing emotional outbursts which come to nothing anyway.

  • marnusmnorval - 2012-03-25 22:08

    Well since the declared refs "untouchable" they think they can do just what they want.

  • John - 2012-03-26 09:49

    Geluk aan Jaco Peyper, Hy was in aksie in Windhoek met 'n Vodacombeker wedstryd en on kon toe al sien toetsrugby is nie vêr vir hom nie!

  • Heiku - 2012-03-26 10:12

    I'm very happy with this. Bryce is useless and Kaplan has major grootkop syndrome.I remember seeing a interview with Kaplan on supersport and he said something to the effect of "Its important to read a game and the situation and referee accordingly and it's important to connect with the players." That is just wrong. A referee is there to enforce the laws of the game it doesn't matter what the situation in the game is or who the player is.

  • Corne - 2012-05-22 07:12

    Bryce Lawrence will be back next season because his one of the best

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