Refs to punish offenders

2010-01-14 14:01

Johannesburg - Test referee Jonathan Kaplan has warned that referees will come down hard on players who illegally contest the ball in the ruck this year.

Kaplan, who is the world’s most experienced referee, will take charge of two Six Nations games in February and will also have the whistle when the Vodacom Super 14 kicks off in South Africa in a repeat of the Absa Currie Cup final between the Vodacom Cheetahs and Vodacom Bulls.

The veteran ref told that he was looking forward to a big season but admitted that he would have “start the season hot” to ensure that fans and players alike have a good standard of refereeing for the vital opening game.

Kaplan believes referees will come down hard on players who play illegally at the breakdown but does admit he has concerns with some of the negative aspects of play that are employed by teams during matches.

“It concerns me to see the constant setting and resetting of scrums and the winding down of the clock through this,” Kaplan said, “ As match officials we don’t want to guess. We will need to take a stronger line on the amount of resets in a game.

“Then at the rucks, we will be focusing on the tackler to ensure he fulfils all of his obligations. If he doesn’t we are going to come down on him early. We will take a harder line on players who are illegally contesting the ball. The tackler knows he needs to let go and if he is not, he will be penalized,” Kaplan told

“If we sort out those two areas, there will be quicker ball and the game will flow better.”

While Kaplan doesn’t agree with former England skipper Lawrence Dallaglio’s assessment that the breakdown is the source of the problems in the game at the moment, he does point out that referees often get the blame for enforcing the laws, where it rather the laws that should be questioned.

“There are a set of laws that are applicable to rugby,” Kaplan explained, “In ten years time they might change to make it a quicker match, but for now the emphasis is on allowing a fair contest. That has always been in the charter and it is important for referees to allow a fair contest and to allow a game which forces the tackler to comply with his obligations at the breakdown.”

While there was some unhappiness from Cheetah fans over his handling of last year’s Currie Cup final, Kaplan points out that there were no complaints from either team, and he is looking forward to refereeing the humdinger.

“If you look at the final, it was one of the better Currie Cup finals in terms of the pace of the game and it was frenetic. I let it unfold in a dynamic manner and that suits a team that wants to play with the ball in hand.

“There were lots of decisions for both sides that were desperately close and they were all correct except for one forward pass.

“Looking ahead, every game is different in the nature. The rivalry between the Cheetahs and Bulls in the last 10 years has been quite special and the Bulls have had a slight edge. But that is a tribute to how well the Cheetahs have used their resources because it’s a commonly known fact that this is a golden generation for the Bulls. It’s a testament to how good this Cheetah side is.”

If the final is any indication, the Bulls will arrive in Bloemfontein to a packed Free State Stadium, and Kaplan will be delivered another pressure cooker of a match.


  • ak - 2010-01-14 14:17

    Kaplan was i good ref now he is just a prick of note. the IRB must start finning ref for the bad dicisions that they make and the unfairness towards the teams. the linesmen should also wake up. if finning the ref is put in place you will see a true game being played in stead of the ref blowing the game to suit his emotions at that time.

  • cheateh-gong - 2010-01-14 14:30

    Kaplan to punish non-Bull.

  • AJ - 2010-01-14 14:35

    In reality some refs will sometimes come down hard on some players to varying degrees - in other words no consistency will be applied. As per usual.

  • Joe - 2010-01-14 14:35

    The problem is that the laws are open to "interpretation" by each referee which is why we end up with the lack of consistency and by association frustration as fans. All any of us ask (players/coaches/fans) is that the interpretations are at least vaguely similar with all the referees, as well as hemispheres.

  • slg - 2010-01-14 14:37

    And the ridiculous situation, where the referee is in the limelight and has undue influence on the game continues. IRB wake up.

  • Heinrich - 2010-01-14 14:43

    What about all these " blockers" that join the ruck late and just hang ther with one hand on the ruck or just blatently stand ther to block tacklers and protect his scrumhalf

  • LJE - 2010-01-14 15:03

    All we ask is that refs be consistent regardless of their poorly hidden loyalties. This goes for local AND more importantly INTERNATIONAL referees....

  • Skipper - 2010-01-14 15:12

    Boo!!!!!!! More free kicks, more penalties, more cards! The IRB are ruining a wonderful game with all the stops in play that are being built into the rules. Its going to easier for a ref to go for man of the match awards:~)

  • Dave Hiscock - 2010-01-14 15:13

    It just sounds like more frustating times are awaiting the rugby-viewing public. Wayne Smith, the All Black assistant coach, was taken to the cleaners when he suggested the use of 2 referees just before the Bloemfontein test during the tri-nations. I, for one, thought that he had (and still does) have a valid point and might be onto something. But, as usual, some of the illiterate Bok supporters had a mouthful to say before that grey matter between their bucket-like ears could start-up and function! He also suggested that the ruck be brought back, that a player can mark the ball anywhere on the field, the maul be abondoned and no lifting be empoyed in the lineouts! All attempts at speeding up the game with less kicking and penalties! Peace out!

  • Bulls fan - 2010-01-14 15:17

    Geez what a bunch of sore losers you all. @ak, did you pass high school? I cannot understand your post with all the spelling and grammar mistakes glaring for all to see. I'm surprised you can comprehend a rugby game with all the intricate rules that comes with it. @AJ. The only consistent thing is the losers' interpretation of the rules and inconsistent referee. after the game.

  • phil - 2010-01-14 15:20

    ummm.. isn't that what they are supposed to do ?

  • Carl Muller - 2010-01-14 15:33

    Kaplan has blown many times "against" the Bulls (as well as other teams) in the past. However as a rule, he has been consistent in the way he blows. We must remember, he only has eyes in the front of his head and he watches mostly the ball and the player with the ball. It is only a penalty if, that is a great if, if he sees it. Overall he is a very good referee. I just hope they use him more between our teams and the overseas teams.

  • Brian-T - 2010-01-14 15:36

    @ak: with all the finning going on, are you not getting confused with the Sharks. @Bulls fan, rich coming from you, when any decision goes against your precious little Bulls and they get whipped the stadium normally empties in 2 minutes, you guys are the biggest whingers. The biggest problems are the inconsistencies, but that will always be there, as long as there is a reasonable balance I am happy. . . . . . . . . LIONS (the Golden kind in case you get confused) 4EVA

  • Enough Said - 2010-01-14 15:36

    We will see if they honestly do what the warn. Refereeing has not been very consistent in the past. I think probably Kaplan is quoted out of context again. Be carefull News 24 you might just be banned for talking about refereeing like Brendan Venter. It is the untouchables that your are talking about. And a final word, why on earth are the Bulls Fans so defensive, probably saw the chainmail of did they actually win it. Newsflash is that it is 2010 and not 2009 anymore even in PTA (Tswane) and it will be the green,black,yellow Tswane Bulls from now on please

  • Marius - 2010-01-14 15:43

    Everything comes down to what Brendan Venter said. The laws at the breakdown is far too vague and therefore open to interpretation by refs. Make the rules more definite and easier to police, with no grey areas that can be exploited by players and all the problems will be solved

  • Bulla - 2010-01-14 15:58

    .......and please punish the Stormbarians for illegal scrumming as well.. ......especially Wicus Blaauw...

  • Robz - 2010-01-14 16:13

    Die bont bulle weet nie meer wat hulle is nie. Die refs blaas hulle nie op nie. Habana teen die Sharks. 'n Ander span se speler sou afgestuur word. Drugs word oorgesien omdat hul erken dat hulle dit gebruik nadat hul uitgevang word. Erken dit maar die bont bulle het blou oge. Hulle kom weg met alles. Toe hulle nie teen 15 Griekwas kon wen nie toe word twee Griekwas afgestuur. Terug by Habana. Was hy afgestuur?

  • terry - 2010-01-14 17:47

    The thing about rugby is that at all of the major 'ball-contesting incidents' - e.g. lineout, scrum, ruck or maul - there are up to 8 players from each team taking part, and there are dozens of laws that are applicable to that situation. That means that there are probably 20 or more infringements taking place at the same time - and the ref picks one of these to blow up (usually his pet hobbyhorse). He is not necessarily wrong - but there may be other more important infringements that he ignores or overlooks (or perhaps doesn't even see). The better refs usually pick the more significant infringement - the lousy refs pick some technical issue that they read up in their manual the previous week (or get emotionally involved and start watching for the one team's infringements only and ignore the other team's infringements). None of the refs are right all of the time - but that is the best you are going to get because of the nature of the game and all of the laws that the IRB come up with.

  • pedro - 2010-01-14 18:31

    It seems to me that every year the refs come up with the story that they are going to be strict on some aspect of the laws and they are, until the spectators (the majority of whom have never even seen a lawbook, never mind studied one) start booing and behaving like idiots and then the strictness becomes less and we are back to square one.

  • Kaplan just do your job! - 2010-01-14 22:29

    I am so sick and tired of this arrogant, army corporal style refs with school teacher attitude that I want to puke with Luke. The refs are pathetic. The players are professionals as well as the refs. If you look at some blatant mistakes that refs and their clown assistants make it borders on match fixing! It seems as if it just depends on how the ref feels on that specific day, had he had sex the night before, a few drinks, headache or whatever. Then they clearly target some player and “protect” others.Refs always target players like Schalk and Bakkies from SA as well as a few players from other countries. The “most protected” player of the decade is without a doubt Richie the cheat McCaw! That clown plays illegal and intimidates the refs for years. Do yourself a favour. Tape an AB or Crusader game and watch it again. This time just watch McCaw! He is the ultimate cheat.Mr Clever Watson and pathetic O’Brien can say what they want but the refs are pathetic. They should be fined for deliberate or obvious mistakes. Problem is no-one is allowed to question or criticise them! I’ve watch the 1997 S12 (think S12) highlights a while back and it was shocking to see how O’Brien was blatantly cheating the Sharks. In the 1 game he awarded a penalty try against them although there was no way in hell that the opponents would have scored. Refs are K@K and should be sorted out NOW! They are killing the game and most of them are very unprofessional. With “refs” I mean the actual ref, his 2 assistants and the clown upstairs (TMO) ASWELL as the game commissioner in charge of sittings etc. Refs cost some teams millions of rands by “blowing” them out of certain games.

  • PETER - 2010-01-15 08:06

    SA have the best rugby refs. (Kaplan,Jonker,Joubert,Pyper) It is the incompetent touch judges and video refs that makes the refs look bad. (Pro Legoete made the crucial mistakes in the CC Final )

  • pages:
  • 1