Top rugby commentator hits out at referees
Cape Town - Referees around the world have been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons for years - maybe longer - yet they continue to baffle with their interpretations of the law.
Seldom does a match conclude without a referee's decision at some point during the 80 minutes being flagged for either being incorrect or simply missed, often costing one side the match.
This past weekend's Super Rugby action threw up several head-scratchers, particularly from New Zealand whistle-blower Nick Briant in the Stormers v Brumbies clash at Newlands when he blew for half-time, before overruling his own decision to do so!
Briant summoned the Brumbies from out the changing room to award the home side a penalty try and issue a yellow card to a Brumbies player before the sides finally took their break.
Not a good look at all for the game.
Bizarrely, this wasn't even the first time this season that the Stormers have benefitted from a half-time whistle being overturned as a similar situation presented itself against the Hurricanes on their recent tour of New Zealand when another Kiwi referee, Glen Jackson, called back the players and awarded the Stormers a penalty which they eventually turned into a try.
This past weekend in the European Champions Cup semi-final between Saracens and Munster, French referee Jerome Garces came in for widespread criticism for his handling of the match.
Former England international and now respected Sky Sports commentator and columnist, Stuart Barnes, took to Twitter to air his unhappiness at how referees in both hemispheres miss clear and obvious transgressions of the law.
Barnes wrote: "Amazed how few players make ANY attempt to follow laws at breakdown and world's best referees don't even blink. In both hemispheres, off feet, diving in, unbound, every time. Theory and practice utterly divorced"