Tappe: Neutral refs not vital

2011-06-28 22:21

Marco Botha

Cape Town - In his days having neutral rugby referees were always paramount, even if it was just about limiting the pressure on the match officials.

That was the word from former Test referee Freek Burger about the controversial system in the Super Rugby tournament according to which "the best referee is appointed for the best game", irrespective of his possible affiliation with a team.

"It has nothing to do with whether a referee is a cheat or not. There is already a lot of pressure on him and it is magnified if he controls a game in which his country plays.

"He may go through a few games without any problems, but then could find himself under the spotlight and be exposed to more criticism if he makes one big mistake," said Burger.

The debate about neutral referees was opened again after last week's quarter-final between the Crusaders and Sharks in Nelson, where Kiwi referee Bryce Lawrence made a number of dubious calls.

The fact that he is going to handle the final adds further fire to the argument.

Tappe Henning, who is also a former Test referee and currently an international assessor, does not believe there is any reason for concern.

"The referees' preparation for these games is exactly the same as with others. The perception of the public, commentators and some coaches is that neutrality cannot be maintained and that the pressure will become too much.

"But as assessors and referees we take emotion out of the calls and in our assessment thereof. Then it becomes just another, yet important game."

Henning believes that the principle of picking the best referees irrespective of where they come from is the right one.

"It won't easily happen at Test level because there will always be enough top referees available. At Super Rugby level the pool is only so big and the tournament is complicated. Emerging Test referees need to be developed somewhere."

He emphasised that referees do not consider themselves bigger than the game and that the system that is being utilised is preferred by the majority of the stakeholders in the tournament.

"The future will be determined by the need. Decisions about referees depends on many things, of which coaches is one. They could be viewed as clients, who need to be kept happy.

"Their feedback played a significant part in Bryce's appointment for the final - a factor being how he performed under pressure in the last two rounds. The main thing is whether our decisions are good for the tournament and the answer to that is predominantly 'yes'."


  • jock - 2011-06-28 22:57

    you could have bluffed me but im still sure the NZ refs are biased

      Theuns - 2011-06-28 23:52

      Ai can't the SHARKS just get over it PLS... it's been how long now... They are useless and we all know it...nuf said...

      Theuns - 2011-06-29 02:46

      TAPPED WHO???

      Honest Dude - 2011-06-29 07:23

      Well Tappe was probably the worst ref ever, so....

      MB1810 - 2011-06-29 08:26

      Unfortunately its not just NZ refs, I've seen the Aus and SA refs turn a blind eye for certain offences aswell. I am all for neutral refs and if that is not on the cards a very proper evaluation of every refs performance by an independant person who knows his stuff. If a player can get banned for foul play a ref should be banned for bad refereeing, simple as that. Certainly allowances should be made for human error, but occasionally, and this season more than others we have seen some truly dreadful performances by the officials worthy of a ban. The only problem that I have with these type of evaluations is that the evaluation is usually carried out by former referees and they tend to be too sympathetic towards their former stations.

  • johan - 2011-06-28 23:00

    The sharks lost, and the ref did not materially influence that. By not acting the Zanzar bosses are following the lead from Sonny Bill Williams, taking us to the dark places of willfull cheating. It is sad that the Zanzar suits does not have the backbone to site him for cheating behaviour. What a great prospect for the world cup!

      Theuns - 2011-06-28 23:55 talk about SBW... Check the next person that is going to bleed penalties is JP for his blocking and obstructing players. He did it in the Bulls game and did it a couple of TIMES against the Crusaders... The TV presenters over here pointed that out and said that he is lucky to get away with it...Just saying...

      Atoombom - 2011-06-29 07:19

      I believe Bambie is gay. All he can do is moan about his K@K floubul team that LOST against the sharks. You are a moron

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-06-29 08:24

      @Johan - well said, Sanzar are setting a president that will spoil rugby. The single most important reason I don't follow soccer is the negative impact those shamless dives have on the game, SBW has brought that into rugby. Sanzar MUST act, least we go down the same road.

      rugby_guru - 2011-06-29 10:14

      With a name like Bambie he can only be gay.. Fact.. I would like an apology from Mark de idiot to sport24..

      BlueRaven - 2011-06-29 12:18

      @Atoombom do you want Bambie's number? You know this is not the right site to look for a boyfriend....

      Theuns - 2011-06-29 13:19 nee hulle moet maar man gaan soek op n ander site.. Hulle se ons moan so omdat ons verloor het teen die Sharks, maar hulle gaan so aan oor hulle VERLOOR teen die Sader...Hulle is maar sekker net SUUR want hulle het nog n CUPLESS Super rugby season...Ag Shame...

      Theuns - 2011-06-29 13:22

      @Guru....Talking about gay...ur the only Knob Jockey i can see around here so keep that trap shut Muzza...

  • ZACommentator - 2011-06-28 23:26

    Tupperware Henning, a known Bull and cheat himself, is hardly the man to answer this

  • phoenix - 2011-06-28 23:41

    What absolute crap. Refs only have to make some deliberately marginal calls to upset a team's confidence and put them on the back foot. Both Tappa and Watson are protecting their arses, they don't have the balls to stand up and confront the situation.

      Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-06-29 08:26

      Those marginal calls in the first 30 mins blew any chance the Sharks had of making a fair contest of the match. Well done to Saders, you deserve the win BUT thanks to BL it was not as entertaining as it could have been. Sad when refs spoil a game....

  • Hielke - 2011-06-28 23:43

    Oooooops how do explain this to the team on the receiving end of such oibvious bias.

  • Orca - 2011-06-28 23:51

    The refs are always bias when SA teams lose.

  • Thomas - 2011-06-28 23:54

    Tappa in most cases you are probably right, but Saterdays game was so obvious it had the NZ commentaters cringing!!!!!!! On another note, if I was Tappa I would send the media another photo as this one makes "Frankenstein" look like Brad Pitt!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL!

  • RuckingFun - 2011-06-29 00:00

    Tappe Henning was undoubtedly one of the most dodgy refs ever, i wouldnt take anything he says seriously

  • Neilson - 2011-06-29 00:48

    Bla Bla bla, fish paste... Neutral ref's id not vital... ITS CRUCIAL!!!! In fact so much so that there should NOT be a Auzi or NZ ref in the whole S15, as they all are biased for Australasia. Lets contract some poms or frenchies.

      Ambiorix - 2011-06-29 10:47

      So you want northern hemisphere refs to handle the S15 competition? for real? oy vey

  • mike - 2011-06-29 00:50

    Why leave room for this in proffessional sport. Simple just introduce neutral refs so that people can't always point fingers at it. Its a proffessional game now worth millions so please just give us neutral refs!

  • StaalBurgher - 2011-06-29 01:46

    It is amazing how SA refs manage to not blatantly screw over foreign teams when they play a SA team.

  • clivegoss - 2011-06-29 02:58

    Tappe I am now just a spectator, so I am not a "client". As one of the "holes" that pay the bills, where do I complain to ? The Consumer Protection Act ! ! ! Just maybe ? En ja Freek is reg, maak nie saak nie n ervare, kennisvolle,goeie en regverdige skeidregter kan enige "game" blaas saak nie maak wie speel nie. Let wel die vereistes is: Ervaring, reel kennis, regverdig.

  • Riaan - 2011-06-29 05:50

    Ja ou Tappa, dit pla jou nie want dit was die Sharks wat verloor het. In jou verneuk dae van blaas, wanneer jy n wedstryd TEEN die Sharks geblaas het, het ek nie eers gekyk nie want dit was n uitgemaakte saak dat hulle sou verloor. Hulle moes jou en die ander splan wen. So hou eerder jou bek. En Bambie hou jou bek ook, jy is duidelik n Bulls supporter wat oorloop van suur druiwe. Jou span het verloor teen die Sharks .."Deal with it" en druk jou suur druiwe in jou spelonk. Johan jy moet eerder minder suip as jy n wedstryd kyk. Gaan kyk die wedstryd weer, maar die keer nugter.

  • Claude - 2011-06-29 06:27

    Referees stick together - well most of the time and that goes to former Referees as well. The problem here is that if neutral Referees are introduced the Refs from Sanzar countries will loose income as the earn for every match they officiate at. The Refereeing in this years Super Rugby has been poor and in my opinion the rules need a major revamp and far more use should be made of technology. Also an open review of Referees performance should take place and that means Assistant Refs and the TV Ref as well with suspension for three games for what I will call 'poor' performances. I don't mean that a Ref can't make a mistake but blatant bad and inconsistent decisions need to be addressed as do missed incidents. If the Ref can call on the TV ref for assistance with any critical decision it should cut out much of the nonsense.

  • Refscorener - 2011-06-29 07:13

    Shame. Please dont tell me that we as spectators are not clients! That we have to except the fact that bryce lawrence is the best of the best in the super 15. Tappe, you must be taking something. bryce is unfit and not good enough, period. Shame but that must be difficult for the ex-policemen from pretoria to act all important and try and say the rite things as he is part of the problem with referees in this tournament.

  • Can-Iwi - 2011-06-29 08:05

    Funny, some of my countrymen were worried about Bryce Lawrence's appointment before the game as well. I personally don't think he's biased, or any of the Super 15 refs are biased for that matter, just that so many crucial mistakes are made, so the refs/assistant refs competence has to be questioned. I don't have confidence in his ability not to get all of the crucial decisions right, and not adversely effect the game for EITHER team. Mind you, Mr Lawrence isn't the only ref that I would put in this category - something needs to be done to improve the standard of refereeing, and the accuracy of the rulings

  • MB1810 - 2011-06-29 08:13

    I never take anything that a ref says about other refs or refreeing in general too seriously. Truth is, it usually just comes down to one referee defending another one's screw ups. I for one, am absolutely for the introduction of neutral refs again - I'm not saying that referees go out of their way to favour their home countries, but the the truth is, that is the direction most 50/50 decisions seem to go. If nothing else the introduction of neutral refs will keep the thought of deliberate favouritism from the public's mind and it will also give the referee some sort of protection.

  • Dave - 2011-06-29 09:09

    Tappe, you've always been a dumb d00s so your view doesn't surprise me. Wake up! There's hardly been any games this season where the refs haven't been bias.

  • StBad - 2011-06-29 11:32

    Well if not for showing bias towards a team then rather to take pressure off of the referee, just take away the doubt by supplying neutral refs. SANZAR should focus on consistency, all SupeRugby refs should be coached from the same school!

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