Rassie Erasmus says World Rugby should introduce two referees as part of a three-point refereeing plan to improve the sport.
In a wide-ranging column for the Daily Mail, Erasmus asks for more officials to be involved in Test rugby, to clean up the uncertainty in the game that irks supporters.
He also calls for a drastic rethink of how the breakdown and scrum is officiated, and for the length of time kickers take to kick to be better monitored.
“The idea of two referees sounds radical and it has been tried, but it can work if done correctly. If it’s efficient and non-intrusive, it could make a massive difference around the tackle/breakdown area,” Erasmus writes.
“The breakdown is so complicated for players, coaches, referees and fans alike. As a referee, you need five pairs of eyes to see what is going on at a breakdown – otherwise you are guessing.”
SA’s director of rugby also noted the officiating of scrums could benefit from more expert assistance.
“For international rugby, why not form a group of world-class scrummaging experts – former players or coaches – to serve as specialist scrummaging referees?” asks Erasmus.
“Get them in the gym so they are on and off the pitch quickly. It would be their only job, so they would have no impact on the rest of the game.
“There are about 20 scrums a match so you could even put a microphone on them and link them up to the TV commentary team so the viewers understand what’s going on. ”
He also wants the ‘shot clock’ on kicks to be more strictly managed: “We are regularly involved in matches where the kicker goes 20 seconds over the allowance. If there are six kicks at goal in a match, that could waste two minutes of ball-in-play time. Put a countdown clock on the big screens and if the time runs out then they lose the kick.
“If we want to see more ball-in-play time then we need to make sure there is less ball-out-of-play time.”