The Blues and Highlanders have called on referees to be more consistent in their policing of the breakdown in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Referees have awarded a combined total of 107 penalties for breakdown infringements across the four games in the opening two rounds of the competition.
It’s a telling statistic, indicative of just how the New Zealand teams are faring with the new interpretations around the breakdown.
The unbeaten Blues host the Highlanders at Eden Park in round three and news from both camps is that they want greater consistency from the match officials.
Blues flank Dalton Papali’i, who received a yellow for a breakdown infringement against the Chiefs in round two, has admitted that they still weren’t sure what the officials were looking for.
‘It’s quite hard, because against the Hurricanes I felt like I had an understanding of that but going into the Chiefs game it felt like it was such a different fine line,’ Papali’i said.
‘I saw Chiefs doing stuff that I got penalised for, but against the Canes it was different. The refs are still learning the rules, and we’re still learning the rules off them as well.’
Highlanders assistant coach Mark Hammett said while the adjustment is difficult at the moment, it will get better with time and better communication between officials and teams.
‘We’re lucky because we’re playing in a one-nation competition with very few refs. Give it another a week or two, and we’ll start getting better pictures,’ he explained.
‘It’s a wee bit early to say whether we should be changing tactics, but everyone can trust the discussions are being had and it’s not one way.’
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