There were some outstanding refereeing performances this weekend, the highlights for me being those of Peyper (Hurricanes vs Highlanders) and Marius vd Westhuizen (Cheetahs vs Brumbies). Peyps was consistent, thorough and delivered a performance where ultimately the players decided the outcome of the game. I thought he TMO decision to give Perenara a try was dodgy as the ball is knocked forward not backwards and the benefit went to the home team but ultimately this should not detract from a good performance. Marius has only been doing this a while but I felt he refereed with a great deal of sensitivity and courage. He was comfortable in dishing out yellows for cynical and repeated infringements and deserves great credit for that. He allowed the game to breathe and looks quite comfortable doing this work. He should be around for a while to come.
I thought Rohan Hoffman (Crusaders vs Sharks) had a poor day at the office. It was a difficult game to referee with so much at stake, but he looked flustered, rushed and made some poor calls. He must have known what was coming with the constant holding back of players, as was the case in the Crusaders v Stormers game and did very little about it, leading to a lot of niggle. This type of preparation is not good enough. I have no issue with the red card for Deysel. It is the only decision to make, however what about the issuing of a yellow to the perpetual transgressors??? It’s ridiculous how often they get away with it, with no sanction. Something needs to be done about this from a refereeing coaching perspective, as this type of behaviour may well determine he outcome of a very important playoff game in the near future!
Some viewers were interested in how the Stormers were awarded a penalty try. I think it is a good call, an obvious one too. There are some binding issues, but the big ticket issue was that the Force scrum disintegrated under pressure close to their line and there were multiple players who unbound and were offside. If the referees are not going to give those, then teams will constantly infringe close to their line.
A number of referees have fallen out of the bus already, sadly, as most of hem are good guys. There are some who will be in danger still. This needs to take place as the public feel very detached from outcomes on the field, and I can’t blame them. More worrying are the TMO decisions. I have never seen so many incorrect calls in all the time I have been involved. I believe they are advocating allowing the TMO more power to make the call which is right. Why wouldn’t you trust the bloke in he box implicitly? Still they should be aiming for close to zero defect, and to be honest, they are some way off…