Watson hits back at Mitchell

2012-03-12 22:30

Cape Town - South African referees boss André Watson says Lions coach John Mitchell was wrong to criticise the assistant referees after his side lost to the Sharks in Durban over the weekend.

Mitchell was unhappy over two decisions in the build-up to Sharks tries and also about the general efforts from the inexperienced duo of Quinton Immelman and Marc van Zyl, who were referee Mark Lawrence's assistants.

Mitchell also criticised the Television Match Official (TMO), Johan Meuwesen.

“There were some dubious officials tonight, so we’re going to have to report the TMO on the evidence that we have.

“That’s something we’ll have to deal with upstairs.

"They won’t change the result, but clearly [the officials] need to be accountable at this level,” Mitchell told SAPA after his side's 32-20 loss.

But Watson disagrees with the Lions coach.

"They (the assistants) made no conspicuous errors and only did their job.

"And they are highly specialised assistant referees who are respected by the IRB and SANZAR," Watson told the Beeld newspaper.

According to Watson there's too much doubt to say with certainty that the wrong calls were made.

"With (Lwazi) Mvovo's try three camera shots did not show his foot touching the sideline and the fourth one also wasn't clear enough.

"Mitchell may have had a case with the alleged forward pass (which led to Meyer Bosman's try) but one also can't say with certainty it was forward."


  • Saffa - 2012-03-12 22:40

    What about the 2 Stormer games that were handed to them on a plate. Report that too, I feel both those games should be replayed with a neutral ref who can count to ten. Ten also being the number of years the Stormers have been without a trophy

      Saffa - 2012-03-13 00:14

      Ag Saffies, jy was net altyd pappa se witbroodjie

      Henno - 2012-03-13 00:19

      Saffies - lmao

      Henno - 2012-03-13 03:50

      Ai, uitgevang. Dink jy is in vir n verassing. Pieter/Saffa/snotneusie

      Saffa - 2012-03-13 06:27

      @Bull Wel dit moet seker die toppunt van domgeid wees. So dit verklaar dan alles, g'n wonder hy reken die Stormers is 'n top span nie. En met 'n naam Henno, bwa ha ha ha! "Hi almal, my naam is Henno, ek kan nie eintlik asemhaal sonder hulp nie"

      Tertius Coetzer - 2012-03-13 08:04


      Mark - 2012-03-13 08:59

      Why attack the stormers, u must be a bad LOSER, not just in rugby but in life to my friend. Glad u can count to ten, i always say, when they talk about you u must be important (stormers).

      Sean - 2012-03-14 01:15

      Stormers will not be lucky 3 x in a row ! Go Blues !!

  • gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-03-12 23:00

    Watson is right. Too many losers are looking for swak excuses. Play to the whistle. simple. We all have the right to rant.... but to go on and on the way some have is ridiculous, especially from a 'respected' coach.

      Bulldozer - 2012-03-13 06:24

      I suppose you were dead quiet when your Sharks team were blown of the park against the Stormers?

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-13 08:04

      Gavin, Gavin, Gavin really?

      Paul - 2012-03-13 08:41

      Gavin ... firstly who's going on and on, Mitchell had a go in the post match interview and that was it. Secondly, I think the refs are having to big an influence on the outcome of games, look at the Cheetahs vs Brumbies game on Saterday, in the last 10 minutes that ref awarded about 8 penalties to the Brumbies, most of them were ridiculous , after the first 2 at scrum time I knew that he was blowing to keep Brumbies in the game and that there would be more to follow, and exactly as I thought the penalties started to flow for the Brumbies.

      gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-03-13 17:43

      Bulldozer.. yes aubrey... yes, really. Paul... you for one. It blows my mind that you guys want to turn rugby into American Football..... Bottom line is the players have taken too long to adapt to the new rules... as have the refs... yet you all blame the refs. Play to the whistle. Accept the results. Learn from your own mistakes.... and play like the Sharks did against the Lions. Simple.

  • Stormers - 2012-03-12 23:18

    Has Watson ever admitted to poor decision making by his officials? It is no wonder they do what they like, their boss constantly and consistently covers for them. That said, I'm not sure where Mitchell saw the dubious calls. Granted, SA does have some of the finer refs in the competition, I dare to say some of the assistants should go back to school or take a visit with Mark Lawrence so he can sort out their eye problems. It would be a glorious day though when Watson admits that his diciples screwed up a match. On a different note, SAFFA, dude, seriously? Is that all you have to say on each post? Echo much? Find youreself a hobby and never watch rugby again, because you clearly haven't a clue what the hell its about.

      Saffa - 2012-03-13 00:15

      Plus they cheated the Bulls out of a win. Disgusting

      stephencas - 2012-03-13 06:58

      Watson is the problem

  • Blip - 2012-03-12 23:29

    It's high time professional referees accepted that their performance blunders CAN, WILL and SHOULD be criticised by anyone -- the public, the coaches, the players. They need to harden up. And the players who get blown up by a referee critical of their bursts of illegal play really need to harden up too, and quit forever whining about the ref. Nobody is beyond criticism, from the president right down to a street beggar.

  • Fred - 2012-03-13 00:03

    Andre, you and all the other referees should handle your Ego's, get into the background where ALL sports officials should be, and provide a more effective, reliable officiating system for rugby than the ridiculously farcical one at present. PEOPLE ARE LEAVING RUGBY BECAUSE OF THIS, BECAUSE OF YOUR EGO's.

      Fred - 2012-03-13 00:16

      Three team appeals per game will largely set the problems right. Adding a second referee would be step two. It's so obvious, only referees who are so taken-in by their ego's, by being center-stage, can't see it.

  • Graeme - 2012-03-13 00:41

    Is this the same Andre Watson who was so vociferous in his condemnation of Bryce Lawrence ?

      Phil - 2012-03-13 06:23

      Of course it was Graeme. The same dummy.

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-13 08:07

      @Phil, did you read Beelds report on oom Nel(the bottle thrower)? It just confirms what I said yesterday. Sorry that you were wrong. I accept your apology

      Phil - 2012-03-13 11:50

      Aubrey are you abusing some substance or what? The goose invaded the field ...and assaulted a visiting player by throwing a bottle at his head. Worldwide (the rugby world anyway) people are horrified by this clowns actions. I am not wrong about anything ...I have seen the video ...the imbecile needs to be locked up for a short while and banned from rugby for life.

  • duggancraig - 2012-03-13 04:54

    I won't comment on the merits of Mitchell's outburst, I'm pretty sure everyone will have their opinions on that, either way. I do think though that there's room for some transparency from the referees association after a weekend's officiating. They know and I mean THEY KNOW which decisions were contentious. It's quite easy to address them in an open and honest manner, thereby ensuring that everyone understands why decisions are made and also when there have been mistakes. It's a learning experience for everyone, all we as the fans want to know is that someone is looking at this, simply commenting and saying there was nothing wrong with a certain decision doesn't help anyone in the end. Heck, it could be a Monday night TV segment titled "How we did" - I'm sure the ratings would be sky high!

  • Terry - 2012-03-13 05:45

    The problem is that at every ruck, maul, scrum, lineout - there are half a dozen things that either side are doing that the ref could blow for. What normally happens is that the ref gets a bee in his bonnet about one issue that one team is doing - and then spends the game watching that specific thing. In the 2 recent games that Lawrence reffed the Sharks, he had a thing for the Sharks going off their feet at the breakdown. He was not wrong in blowing them, but he failed to blow both the Stormers and the Lions for exactly the same offence, and several other offences. The result was that in the 2nd half of the Sharks-Stormers game the penalty count was 10-1 against the Sharks. The better refs seem to have better peripheral vision, and get the balance right. Lawrence (Mark that is - not Bryce) used to be a better ref, but I think that he is not the ref he was 3 or 4 years ago, and the same goes for Jonathan Kaplan.

      Phil - 2012-03-13 12:25

      The Refs have a tough job....and we see very little of what goes on behind the scenes and how they are directed by their bosses. We dont know what the Refs are TOLD to focus on. Plus , there are too many , too complex rules that are too open to individual interpretation....AND many key rules change from season to season. Take a look at Soccer ...few rules , easy to ref and the rules are CLEAR . It is easy to pitch into a ref for a bad game or even ONE bad decision ...but they have a tough gig. No , I am not a Ref.

      Byron - 2012-03-13 13:55

      Terry you have put my gripe perfectly. The ref has a bigger part in the game than any player and that is a problem. Interpretation has become a excuse for bias

  • Charles - 2012-03-13 05:47

    Watson who ???? or is it the Colour blind ref we once saw stuff up rugby games. Still blind then are we............

  • Claude - 2012-03-13 05:49

    Referees are always protected from criticism whether they have made mistakes or not. It is a thankless task but needs to become more open and accepting of genuine errors. This is the professional era and referees must become more professional. The problem is that the public are not very knowledgeable and back their own team and see the smallest incident by the other team as an error the ref should have seen. You even get those from the public who are patently biased against any team that is not one they support whether they know what they are talking about or not!

  • Roy - 2012-03-13 05:59

    Be it in any sport that if spectators are not satisfied with a referee or a umpires decision,the following game should be boycotted and those spectators who have a season ticket should go to the field with placards carrying a message saying : "Please do not spoil the game with bad decisions". Everyone then holds up this sign so that the TV camera men can show the public what they think of the refereeing/umpiring.

  • Vanessa Ann Killian - 2012-03-13 06:09

    Is dit dieselfde mitchell wat op 94.7 gese het, ons moet oor dit kom na die wereldbeker tussen ons en wallabies (bruce lawrenc).

  • Shaun Robinson - 2012-03-13 07:23

    God forbid they human!!!

      Sean - 2012-03-14 01:18

      When the results go your way , no probs ??? Happend two weeks in a row for you !

  • Vernon - 2012-03-13 07:44

    John Mitchell should be deported back to New Zealand .... he is a desperate coach with a rubbish team and his mouth is bigger than his IQ .... I have only ever heard negative comments from him each time SA rugby attempts to move forward .... maybe he should learn from John Plumtree and Cheeky Watson !!!

      Johan - 2012-03-13 08:16

      Vernon speel jou span lekker vodacom cup? HA HA HA die losers

      Reinhard - 2012-03-13 08:36

      Vernon ek neem aan jy's 'n sharks supporter. En nou is jy seker suur dat so 'n "rubbish team" julle so ver gewen het in laas jaar se finaal. Ek dink nie jy ken rugby nie! John Mitchell is 'n uitstekende coach,en die manier hoe hy die Leeus se rugby al omgedraai het,sit nie in enige coach se vermoë nie. En dit gaan glad nie meer oor laas jaar se currie cup nie,maar even in die super 15 lyk ons al heelwat beter as vorige jare. Die span is nog besig om te groei,en John het al die reg gehad om te kla,want daar was 'n paar beslissings na beide kante toe waar die lyn regters en Lawrence self verkeerd was. En dit was besluite wat gelei het tot drieë.

      Jan - 2012-03-13 10:21

      Vernon, John M has more rugby knowledge than the entire EC rugby community, let's deport your A$$ to Afganistan.

  • Ryan - 2012-03-13 07:46

    Is thatt Andre Watson or John Cleese in the picture???

      Bulldozer - 2012-03-13 07:59

      John Cleese probably knows more about rugby that this plank.

      Clive - 2012-03-13 09:51

      @Ryan. Separated at birth? Difference is John Cleese is a hoot, Watson is a box (doo$)

  • Kevin - 2012-03-13 07:54

    mitchell , dont bring your countries Bryce Lawrence ways to this country. The Sharks outplayed the Lions and deservedly won the match. Unlike your countries Bryce Ellis Trophy they think they won. You are a coach who will do well in the Vodacom cup next year.Your team and you as a coach will fit in better at that level of

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-13 08:13

      Kevin knows your Mom youre here wright nhow on whi Intertent? Lions B shoeld hafe win the Sharks baai vaaar!! ief iet wasent four de Rifarees bed dascisioens. Com nhow agree uncircumcisionly wif me alamu?

  • leon.vanvuuren3 - 2012-03-13 07:57

    Match fixing in cricket and now this in rugby - GAME FIXING

  • Gert - 2012-03-13 08:06

    Mr Watson, what about the referee in the Cheethas game, he was poor. And the camerawork and production nowadays on the rugby is poor, they "will" miss a lot of stuff on the field. There's a lot of poor calls in the SA games. That late tackle on Bjorn Basson should have been a red card and a penalty on the halfway line even though the time was up. That bad shoulder was in normal play.

  • aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-13 08:09

    Watson can't hits his own bek if he wanted too

  • Andre - 2012-03-13 08:25

    There is always a ref that is a little pro to one team or another. Just look at Craig Joubert.......I am convinced that he wears a Bulls jersey under his Ref jersey whenever he officiates a Bulls match. I also feel this is unacceptable in Pro sport but that is the hars reality. As long as there is a human element it will never change.

      Andre - 2012-03-13 08:32

      @Bulldozer and what is your IQ again..........probably less than the points that the Bulls have on the S15 log!

      Bulldozer - 2012-03-13 08:35

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Awesome chirp. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go cry myself to sleep.

  • Eben - 2012-03-13 08:28

    Problem is, instead of streamlining the rules, they add more, and "FOCUS" the odd year on different rules... Why do they need to "FOCUS" on certain rules more than others. Because there are to many rules..... When a ruck/maul is formed, there are about 10 things that the ref can blow, so they pick one and we(spectators/players/coaches), see the other 9 transgression which the other team make.... I suggest the following main rules 1. Forward Pass 2. Off Side 3. When ruck and maul is formed, no rules besides fowl play, off side and bringing maul to ground. If you want to create a ruck or maul it's your problem to get that ball out. 4. Tackle rule. When tackled and going to ground the tackle player must get to feet before playing ball(oldest rule, you must play on your feet). 5. When ball is kick, off side rule apply. And can only be put onside by kicker (straight forward off side rule). Stop the "FOCUS" and get less rules, then the ref can't pick the wrong rule!!!!!

  • Henk - 2012-03-13 08:29

    ja sure watson!

  • Johan - 2012-03-13 08:52

    After reading this article, especially towards the end, Watson seems to be saying that Mitchell may have a point in both cases, but actually he's wrong?

  • Mark - 2012-03-13 09:01

    That was at Saffa, suffering from lack of sports knowledge

  • Bill - 2012-03-13 09:09

    Same old same old. Mr Watson has never ever acknowledged that a ref could possibly make a mistake. Not the faintest, vaguest possibility that a ref might just be human and thus fallible. They are always "highly specialised assistant referees who are respected by the IRB and SANZAR" and thus somehow superhuman. On top of their infallibility they are also untouchable, nobody is allowed to say anything about their performance lest you "bring rugby into disrepute" by commenting on the archangels of the game.

  • Andrew - 2012-03-13 14:01

    We as the paying public dont believe the IRB and SANZAR any more ("And they are highly specialised assistant referees who are respected by the IRB and SANZAR," Watson) what a load of S@#t....... did any body see the cheetahs game................ cant be matching at all..............we dont believe or respect the IRB or SANZAR

  • Stephan - 2012-03-13 16:53

    I am sick and tired of the referees swinging the games., and that is exactly what they are doing. I am a big cheetah and love the game of rugby. They cheated the cheetahs out of tries, with the help of the TMO for the last three games now. it is unfair to the supporters the players and the game. Mr Watson will you and you partners please refund my DSTV subscription, the money I spend on firewood, brandy.coca cola and ice to social with my friends to watch the rugby games. I wonder how much money you make with match fixing? There needs to be an investigation by Interpol.

  • Chappies ZA - 2012-03-13 20:16

    Andre and Craig, tiime to HTFU. Criag you probably feeling comfy in your pink Bulls outfit!!!

  • Basie - 2012-03-13 20:18

    I am not a Lions supporter but nevetheless, I never thought much about Watson as a referee. He also made the strangest decisions in his time. No wonder the refereeing is in this mess. The refs must be accountable on their performance, take their money will be the best option, otherwise everything will just stay the same.

  • Basie - 2012-03-13 20:24

    Watson's refereeing was most of the times also very erratic like some of the current referees who he is defending. No wonder refereeing is in this mess. I suppose Bryce Lawrence will be the next New Zeeland refereeing boss!

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