Cape Town - Former Springbok captain Corne Krige has encouraged the national side at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan to keep refereeing out of their minds as they make their way through the competition.
The standard of officiating has been a massive talking point so far at the tournament, with inconsistencies in interpretation of the laws being identified as a major issue.
World Rugby themselves acknowledged last week that the quality of refereeing in the early stages of the tournament had not been up to scratch, while there was more drama over the weekend with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and skipper Michael Hooper clearly frustrated with Romain Poite's officiating in their loss to Wales on Sunday.
The Boks, meanwhile, had their own struggles with Jerome Garces in their 23-13 loss to the All Blacks two weekends ago.
It has all combined to leave many critics calling for a complete overhaul in the international refereeing structures and it now seems almost certain that officiating will play a major role throughout the World Cup.
Krige, who captained the Boks to a quarter-final at the 2003 World Cup in Australia, says that refereeing has and always will be an issue but that the players are better served putting that out of their thoughts.
"You have to focus on what you have control over, and you do that as well as you possibly can," Krige told Sport24 at a Laureus Sport for Good function in Cape Town last week.
"If something outside of your control comes into the game and it derails you, then so be it and you accept it.
"The biggest and most important thing right now is that the guys focus on the game they play and getting better all the time.
"You can't influence the referee; you can't influence them via the press ... you go out there and try your best to make sure that those decisions don't affect the result."
Krige acknowledges, though, that the Boks have not always had the best of luck when it comes to officiating in big World Cup matches.
"The sad thing is there is always a referee who is a thorn in our side. In 2011 it was Bryce Lawrence and he just made mistake after mistake," he said.
"Everybody makes mistakes and all referees make mistakes and I truly don't believe that any referee is purposefully cheating. You'd be stupid to do that on the world stage.
"There are always 50/50s and in any given game there are 10 or 12 50/50 calls. If the majority of those 50/50 calls go for one team, then it makes it very difficult for the other team to win.
"That's the only sad thing is that sometimes we've been on the wrong end of that."
The Boks are next in action when they take on Italy in Shizuoka on Friday. Kick-off is at 11:45 (SA time).