Ex-Bok: Management of referees is ruining rugby

2018-06-15 11:25
Cobus Visagie (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok prop Cobus Visagie is unhappy with the consistency of referees at Test level.

Visagie, who played 29 Tests for the Boks between 1999 and 2003, spoke exclusively to Sport24 this week when he said referees were “damaging” the game.

Visagie was referring to an incident in last Saturday’s Test between New Zealand and France in Auckland.

All Blacks replacement prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi used his shoulder in a double tackle with flank Sam Cane that left France wing Remy Grosso hospitalised with two facial fractures.

Tu'ungafasi was not sent from the field and also escaped punishment at a subsequent hearing.

“One of the most fundamental issues at the moment in rugby, which is ruining the game, is the way that the referees are managed. The damage both the lawmakers and the referees are doing to people’s understanding and enjoyment of the game is significant. It’s the single biggest bugbear of rugby players and coaches alike, and people walk away extremely frustrated from a game when there is lack of consistency in terms of decision-making,” Visagie said.

“The incident in the first Test between New Zealand and France was a case in point. Neither Sam Cane nor Ofa Tu'ungafasi were sanctioned for the double-high tackle that sent Remy Grosso to hospital with a double skull fracture. (The Citing Commissioner considered Tu’ungafasi to have executed a dangerous tackle “just short of” red card level in accordance with World Rugby Regulation 17).”

Visagie called on World Rugby’s top brass to step in: “When there is a lack of consistency that is why people walk away with a bitter taste in their mouths. There is too much subjectivity around the breakdown, high tackles and what is defined as dangerous play. It all contributes to ruining people’s enjoyment of the game. Very strong leadership now needs to take control, so that both the law-making and screening of referees is open and transparent and it becomes a joy to watch rugby again.”

READ: Refs 'subconsciously lenient' towards All Blacks

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