Referee could 'bite' Sharks

2011-06-22 22:00

Christo Buchner and J.J. Harmse

Johannesburg and Pretoria - The Sharks will have to overcome a great deal more than just a hectic travel schedule when they play the Crusaders in their Super Rugby quarter-final in Nelson on Saturday.

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The South Africans should also brace themselves for New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence. Of the eight Sharks matches that Lawrence has handled since 2006, they have won only three.

The only time they had to deal with him earlier this year was the game against the Bulls in Durban, which they also lost.

Lawrence (41), a school principal, will also be the referee in the Super Rugby final of 9 July.

SANZAR game manager Lyndon Bray announced on Wednesday that Lawrence had - according to the organisation's selectors - consistently produced the best refereeing performances over the past six months and was therefore appointed to referee the final.

Craig Joubert, who handled last year's final between the Bulls and Stormers, and the world's most experienced Test referee Jonathan Kaplan, will referee the two semi-finals.

Joubert will be in action in Cape Town for the semi-final hosted by the Stormers, while Kaplan will officiate the Reds' playoff in Brisbane.

Lawrence and another Kiwi, Chris Pollock, will be in action this weekend in the first round of playoff games.

Last year the Stormers were angry about Joubert's refereeing performance in the Super14 final in Soweto, which they lost to the Bulls.

Meanwhile, All Black coach Graham Henry could easily have had Lawrence in mind when he slammed the fitness levels of referees this week.

It is believed that Lawrence failed the fitness tests that the Super Rugby referees underwent.

Henry said that the basic errors referees were making were ridiculous.

"It happens because they get tired and hit the wall later in games and can no longer apply their minds properly. They run out of steam and lose it," Henry said this week.

He said it was amazing how many tries were scored from forward passes just because the referee and his assistants cannot keep up with play.

Henry also feels defending teams are allowed to be disruptive at the breakdowns because the referee is too far from play to see what is happening.

There was concern in the Sharks' ranks this week about the role that the referee could play in the Crusaders game.

With the game set to be played at a high tempo, the teams cannot afford a referee whose fitness levels are suspect.

The Crusaders are masters of exploiting the laws to their advantage and, for example, playing on the off-side line.

Lawrence must have his finger on the pulse throughout and keep up with the action so that he does not miss transgressions.

Henry went as far as saying that the time may have come for substitute referees to be considered if it becomes clear that the official who started the game is running out of steam in the second half.

Lawrence handled a Sharks game for the first time in 2006 when they lost to the Waratahs in Sydney. After that the Sharks lost to the Brumbies in 2007 when he was the referee.

In 2008 they lost to the Brumbies and Waratahs again, while in 2009 the Sharks won the three games in which Lawrence was the 31st person on the field. That was against the Chiefs, Western Force and Brumbies.

While Lawrence did not handle any of the Sharks' games last year, they walked off the field as losers when he officiated against the Bulls.


  • René Müller - 2011-06-22 22:14

    Any good team must rise above a 'bad' ref! That is unfortunately the way they have to play nowadays! Too many bad refs! The Sharks must not let any 'bad' decisions affect them and go and play their hearts out! Go Sharkies, as a Bull Supporter, I will be behind you guys 100 %. It will be a toughy, but with the right mindset and game plan, who knows, you might just pull it off!!

      Spies_JJ - 2011-06-22 22:15

      Stem saam!

      René Müller - 2011-06-22 22:45

      Robynsky, sometimes its better to play away from home, not too much pressure and expectations are limited. No harm in hoping though! John Smit has been one of the greats in rugby, and I would really like it if he could lift the S15 cup. Only time will tell though.

      rugby_guru - 2011-06-23 07:25

      Thanks bro, i'm sure my team will try their hardest regardless of ref / jet lag / bruising, etc.. that is the nature of this compo, and it is the rules structured before we start the compo, were we landed we play the saders at home, simple as that... Give it your all Sharkies!

      WPBEFONK - 2011-06-23 07:37

      Go Sharks Go!!!! You can overcome ALL these obstacles. Hoekom word daar nou soveel negative dinge genoem, vandat 'n SA span in NZ moet gaan speel. These obstacles might be there, but I think the Sharks are a PROFFESSIONAL outfit and they can deal with these.. Sharks by 3+. WP and STORMERS support to the BOYS from DURBS!!!!

      Maarten - 2011-06-23 07:41

      But, don't you remember.... Referees cannot have an influence on the outcome of a game? Just ask the Sharks supporters! This is what they said after last Saterdays game! In fact, anybody who said different was called all matter of names!

      Maarten - 2011-06-23 09:03

      I see lots of thumbs down's. But not one with the guts to dispute or debate the issue. Isn't it fun to be able to hang an obnoxious bastard their own petards? I can't wait to see the excuses!

      Grant - 2011-06-23 09:20

      Maarten maybe nobody finds you worthy of a debate! If you think the reff played a part in the Bulls loss last week then you only deserve one word...........SHAME.

      Grey B - 2011-06-23 10:30

      Go sharkies!

  • Ace Ventura - 2011-06-22 22:15

    Go Bryce!!! Go Crusaders!!! Go Sonny Bill!!!

      Spies_JJ - 2011-06-22 22:21

      Ai tog, ek het my nou net doodgesukkel om vir Bambie & Frik in die bed te sit met hul bottel en nou het Ace weer uitgeglip!

      Frik - 2011-06-22 22:28

      @Spies wat is dit met jou wat heeltyd manne in die bed wil sit?

      Gungets Tuft - 2011-06-22 22:30

      Ace - don't you ever tire of being a predictable little #rsehole. Seriously. It is the first and last time I will ever respond to your posts, but I am starting to think you are dense and perhaps just need to have your infantile behaviour pointed out to you and you will come to your senses. Probably not, but it is worth a try.

      Frik - 2011-06-22 22:33

      @Gun moet die edelagbare vanaand op die bank slaap?

      Ace Ventura - 2011-06-22 22:34

      Fungus Tuft

      Spies_JJ - 2011-06-22 22:36

      @ Frik Manne?? ..... julle kommentaar is op pre-primere vlak, kinderagtig en 'n totale klad op die forum.

      Ace Ventura - 2011-06-22 22:40

      Ek stem saam Spies. Go Frik!!! Go Sonny Bill!!! Go Crusaders!!!

      Theuns - 2011-06-22 22:48

      Klink vir my Spies is n agter mekaar man...Met n naam soos Spies sal ek versigtig wees om Mans in die bed te sit... Maar ek sien hulle begin nou al met die REF... Ek VIS KOTS sommer...

      Frik - 2011-06-22 23:04

      @ Spies Is jy 'n pre-primere skool juffrou?

      Theuns - 2011-06-22 23:36


      SupaGerm - 2011-06-23 05:36

      @Ace Ventura Go F! Go Y! Go S!

      Ace Ventura - 2011-06-23 07:19

      SupaSperm, 'yourself' is one word.

      Kevin - 2011-06-23 07:40

      Go Bulls . Oh damn you are out of the S15.Sorry forgot

      Frik - 2011-06-23 09:25

      @Kevin bly die nuus het uiteindelik daar by CMAX uitgekom

      Frank - 2011-06-23 14:09

      Ace - go to hell!!!

  • Frik - 2011-06-22 22:31

    Ek dog dis net die bulls wat die ref blameer maar soos YSTER Harmse en Christo skryf "Stormers were angry about Joubert's refereeing performance in the Super14 final in Soweto, which they lost to the Bulls" Go SAders!!! GO SAnny Bill!!!

      Paddy - 2011-06-23 00:40


      Frik - 2011-06-23 08:54

      Wie Marius Joubert?

  • Gungets Tuft - 2011-06-22 22:32

    Bryce is a short person. Short people have problems with the basics. Referees should first pass a height test. 1.83m minimum or they have to move on to soccer.

      Ace Ventura - 2011-06-22 22:39

      Fungus Daft

      Frik - 2011-06-22 23:01

      @Gun miskien eendag as jy die toets van langer as 1.83mm slaag...

  • Stompies - 2011-06-22 23:25

    As a Bulls supporter I must say - you've had with that d@@s!

  • DOWWE EFFEL - 2011-06-23 00:06

    Ek is dom maar.........uumm..........wat nou weer?

  • Isgak - 2011-06-23 00:18

    Sharks lost 3 of the 8 . . . . just look at how many the the Stormers lost that Craig Joubert was in charge. That will paint another picture.

      shucky - 2011-06-24 09:35

      isgak, the bulls lost 2 games last year , both games were reffed by Craig Joubert...

  • Paddy - 2011-06-23 00:45

    ACE/EFFEL jou "Esten Martin" is reg vir die 2de laag orange paint ek sê my broer.Onthou die chrome "megs" om by die 1989 ML te pas hoor.Het daai "Esten" van jou bubbles op vir die sneeu en so aan? Lekke bly ek sê en good luck dokkie ek hoop die SPCA betaal nie te sleg vir mail nurses in "Wencouver" nie ek sê.Jy moet daai secret deurstuur na ons outjies hoe jy ingekom het in Kanada met djou St 6 in die spesiale skool.Het jy al vlugteling status gekry?Bad dat hul nie wou toelaat dat jy jou Cortina,Boerboel en gun saamgevat hetti nê!

      Frik - 2011-06-23 08:52

      Magtig Ace is jy nou ook al in Kanada?

  • thames - 2011-06-23 00:46

    @The editor. Every time I post a derogatory remark about rugby referees it is removed almost immediately by you. My comments are mild compared other articles. An example would be Kevin Pieterson who has had every disgusting and vile comment directed at his person, his wife, his child, parents etc but they are not deleted by you. A recent comment even recommended beheading and it too was not removed. Does Sport 24 have a special policy that applies only to referees?

  • flat bier - 2011-06-23 03:45

    ...begin al hoe meer klink soos mission impossible vir die Sharks....

  • slg - 2011-06-23 05:34

    It's the most ridiculous thing the antiquated, egocentric refereeing system of rugby union. 30 to 40% of results are unreliable, swayed by refereeing errors.

  • hardloop - 2011-06-23 06:05

    The Sharks lost those games because they were outplayed, not because of the ref. If they lose against the 'Saders and blame the ref then they are just a bunch of poofs and should start playing ballet. What a crock of sh*t.

  • gsaker1 - 2011-06-23 06:48

    they walked off the field as losers because they weren't good enough to score enough points to eliminate a refereeing error or two - which happens every game - costing them the game - score heaps of points and take the ref out of the equation!...anyway only a brave tunnel visioned Sharks supporter would give them much hope against a side like the Crusaders playing at home who have NEVER lost a finals game at home and who destroyed the Sharks in England this year...yes they have a chance like all sides but it is a very very slim one and worse they have Maitland and Sonny Bill back and Zac Guilford is in the form of his life...factor in the best fly half in the world and two thirds of an All Black forward pack and at home and you get the picture people huh?

      frans.visserdsb - 2011-06-23 10:16

      Mr Saker... I have learnt one thing in life - there is never such a thing as a sure thing in rugby... otherwise, according to the Bull supporters we should have just given them the S15 trophy at the beginning of the year, and we should just give the RWC to the All Blacks right now... Truth is the reason I love this game is because of the underdog turning things around against all odds. Remember France v NZ in the 1999 semi's? Honestly, who gave them a chance? And when they were out of the game at half time? I am not betting my house on the Sharks. But they showed a lot of fight and heart in beating the Bulls - and you can never write off a team that has heart...

  • Claude - 2011-06-23 07:14

    Ive been saying that referees miss forward passes all season and SBW is one of the worst for forward passes in the offload.

  • Greg - 2011-06-23 07:17

    Once again the ref screws the SA team!

  • phoenix - 2011-06-23 07:18

    it doesnt matter how well you play, you cannot beat 15 opposition AND the whistle!!!

  • aKuma - 2011-06-23 07:38

    that's almost a 50 / 50 stat. is it expected that they should win all their matches when he plays? surely the sharks have a role in the outcome of the game? stupid article. if anything this ref appears to be biased against nz teams.

  • Canibus - 2011-06-23 07:42

    LOL... now that the Sharks used a ref to win against the Bulls they have something to complain about. ahahahah. They already know that Crusaders are gonna take them to the cleaners. The Sharks dont have a winning mentality. Good luck to them though.

  • TheWizard - 2011-06-23 07:44

    Already looking for excuses...Kaplan/Lawrence/Legoete/Jonker/Joubert can not help you any further than this...Sorry Sharkies, Your holiday is over, Now time for a reality check!!!!!

      Kevin - 2011-06-23 08:03

      The Bulls got there reality check last week when they had to play the big boys in the top 6. Watch the Sharks give the Crusaders a rugby lesson in their own backyard-just like at Loftus

  • Hendrik - 2011-06-23 07:48

    wel they got away with murder when Jonker was the ref, its about time someone "bite" them

      Porra - 2011-06-23 10:08

      Agree Hendrik. Memories are short. If Mr Plonker Jonker did'nt hel;p them against the Cheetahs they might have been back in Durbs. Dont worry Sharkies you will "enjoy" the selective refereeing.

      Kevin - 2011-06-23 10:26

      Hendrik , we talking rugby ,not netball. Since when does a Porra watch netball

      Porra - 2011-06-23 14:20

      Kevin, I can see from your question that you are totally confuse. Make sense boet or dont comment. You must be a guppie import!

  • jennifer.woker - 2011-06-23 07:49

    I'm sorry is no one else blown away by the fact that Lawrence is a kiwi and so are the 'Saders. Its ridiculous that someone from Aus isn't ref-ing this game. In my humble opinion, which I admit doesnt count for much, there is no way ref's reffing teams from their own countries can be unbiased - it goes against the laws of nature. Its standard 1 +1 = 2 stuff. But anyway, may the best team win on the day. Hopefully it'll be the Sharks.

  • KB - 2011-06-23 07:57

    It is amazing that rugby is now played against the ref and not the opposition. This just shows how shocking the games are being handled by refs nowadays. Secondly, why are neutral refs not being selected to handle these last few games. Again we play against 16 men, but as mentioned earlier, the Sharks must rise above the ref, not give away so many penalties, keep the ball in hand and the Sharks can pull it off.... Go Sharks

  • capetonian - 2011-06-23 08:05

    The game is played at a considerable pace and there will always be the occasion, especially with an intercept pass, that the ref and linesman are left in the dust and cannot possibly be in a position to see if the attacking players have thrown a forward pass which could result in a try. Why not allow the defending team the right to call on the TV ref to adjudicate....or quite simply let him advise the ref on any occasion that the latter is unsighted? Graham Henry has a good point about fitness levels, but no matter how fit they are there will always be those times when everybody watching the game will scream "forward" except the officials! We want games to be won fairly as far as possible and the administrators of the game shoild keep this in mind. Would like to hear other commentary on this.

  • jk - 2011-06-23 08:12

    strange how we already shift the blame..

  • JJRR - 2011-06-23 08:29

    Veral as julle weer so omkant gaan speel soos laas Saterdag!

  • henk v - 2011-06-23 08:42

    daar sien die sharks hulle gatte - 'n verdomde onderwyser is in beheer van die wedstryd!!!

  • John - 2011-06-23 08:46

    Be nice to the ref! If you can't beat them join them. This crap of questioning every decision, shaking heads everytime a call goes against you etc etc does not work! All it does is get the pricks back up. I see a lot of this nonsense creeping into the Stormers game. My advice to the Sharks is stay cool!

  • jochem - 2011-06-23 08:53

    The Sharks shouldn't complain about being bitten. For a start, they should not have been in the play-offs after the Cheetahs were "bitten" by the Sharks' dear friend Marius Jonker - born and bred in Richards Bay!

  • Reinhardt Grobler - 2011-06-23 08:58

    Why dont they substitute referees? Let one handle the first half and then move down to assistant on the touch line and let one of them handle the second half? Maybe they will then get quicker to the breakdown points and concentrate more on making the right decisions as he might get outdone by the guy replacing him in the second half... Just a thought...

  • Spartan - 2011-06-23 09:00

    No one bites like Steve "Blue Bull" Walsh.

  • DV84U - 2011-06-23 09:30

    All I can say as a loyal SA Rugby supporter, Bulls, Sharks whatever: Just knock S*@1t out of the Crusaders, and bring the cup home Sharks. I have complete faith in your ability. Good luck I will be behind you!!!!

  • jimmy.horne - 2011-06-23 10:07

    they beat the cheetas ,the lions and the bulls because of refs now they complain beforehand.not much faith in the team.

  • YB Normal - 2011-06-23 10:47

    I do believe the sharks should are the last team to complain about bad decision made by refs in this years S15. They should actually hope for a few bad decisions on Saturday as it seems this was the year where such decisions has help them to gain a place in the play-offs. Thanks to the bad decisions they have won the game against the Cheetahs and were able to achieve a Draw against the Lions, so they might just won this one again based on some poor referee decisions. Apart from the above, I will support them on Saturday, as it will give my team (Stormers) the easier options for the semi-finals next week

  • mursebul - 2011-06-23 10:49

    Aint payback a bitch?

  • deluscia1 - 2011-06-23 11:44

    'Saders FTW! xD

  • Neyven - 2011-06-23 13:35

    One or another Bulls supporter posted a vitually minute by minute account of the Shark transgressions in the game last Saturday. I have the game on disk and looking at it and stopping it at the times indicated saw only some transgressions. In my opinion the Bulls got the better deal.

  • Hotspotsman - 2011-06-23 18:05

    If they have to play in front of him to win the cup on the 9th of July, they might as well start to impress him this weekend, first.

  • Dolittle - 2011-06-23 18:59

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, never had such a good laugh about an article like this one. A story about a ref that knows the rules, applies them and the result is the Sharkes loose 62.5% of the times. No that makes for an interesting statistic. Can't we clone this guy. I would love to see how many times the Sharks win when the 4 musketeers handle the whistle, wait I know 90% of the time. This statistic will put know fear into the real Shark supporter, as they have been telling me all week now, the ref has nothing to do with a teams performance, bad & good calls goes both ways.

  • Dolittle - 2011-06-23 19:36

    fantastic article! Investigative journalism of the highest caliber.

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