Kaplan: Return to neutral refs

Former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan says Sanzar should start appointing neutral referees again.

There were a number of refereeing controversies over the weekend, with Australia's Rohan Hoffmann coming in for a lot of criticism for the way he handled the match between the Sharks and the Waratahs in Sydney.

Kaplan believes the public are quickly losing faith in the officiating and that a return to the neutral approach of old is required.

'I feel that the logistical and financial gains that are made by the present merit-based system are possibly antiquated,' wrote Kaplan on BDlive.co.za. 'Rugby is saving money through referees staying at home. While the thinking is that referees travelling less is good for their mental state and, as a result, performance, there's still a perception that a referee officiating a team from his country is likely to be biased.'

Earlier this week Sanzar’s game manager Lyndon Bray spoke of the need for accountability after standing down the officials who had underperformed. But Kaplan says an overhaul of the current system is required if there are to be sustainable results, and is in favour of implementing the white card, which proved successful during the Varsity Cup.

'Introduce the player-coach challenge, such as the one at Varsity Cup, thus giving our customers a better deal,' said Kaplan.

Read Kaplan's full column

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