Long weekend meant long weekend for all, so apologies for no piece last week. I was pretty focused on completing my 6th 2 oceans and hence didn’t get to see much rugby!
This week saw some interesting games. There was some good performances by the top referees, notably Walsh, Joubert, Peyper and Pollock.
There are still a few worthy talking points though.
Super Rugby – Sharks vs Highlanders (34-18)
In the Sharks Highlanders game, Referee Jaco Peyper penalized one of the Sharks players for taking out an opponent beyond the ball and not allowing him to take up a defensive position. Mvovo received the ball from McLeod and went through for what appeared to be a perfectly good try. On closer inspection, there is a case to be made for the holding back, and whilst I agree it is not a great example, the referees have been very poor at picking this type of infringement up. So it was fair enough to disallow the try, as you can’t have it both ways BUT it is very important that these infringements are picked up going forward as I am of the opinion that the Sharks are hardly the worst perpetrators of this willful type of infringing.
I recently pointed out a case (read here) in the Reds Stormers game where Nizaam Carr was literally pinned against the posts and then Reds went on to score a decisive try! That was simply not good enough at this level. Let’s hope the referees have finally up-skilled themselves to identify these infringements for the betterment of the game in the Southern Hemisphere.
Super Rugby – Cheetahs vs Stormers (35-22)
The Cheetahs Stormers game was a an entertaining affair but hardly suited the Stormers style of play. Nevertheless they were in the game until the last 10 minutes when with the Stormers attacking well, they were undone by a curious incident. Schalk Burger is brought to ground and offloads back to one of his team mates. No ruck is formed so therefore all retiring players from the Cheetahs are onside so long as they don’t attempt to win the ball in the tackle area from an Offside position. Heinrich Brussouw is retiring and slaps the ball backwards towards his own team.
This is not an infringement, only if he deliberately knocked it forward. He is onside and therefore it is a play on situation. Great credit must go to Joubert for seeing this as it was happening and having the courage to play on. Even when the Cheetahs scored he did not refer it despite protestations from the Stormers. A great decision made by an excellent referee, who was at pains to clearly explain his thinking at each and every juncture during the game. He is not always right but leaves you in no doubt as to what he is blowing for. Peyper is the same and both deserve credit for not only being player friendly but also consumer friendly to the general public.
My top 3 referees in the comp at this stage are Jackson, Joubert and Peyper with the others some way back.