SA Rugby Referees says Marius van der Westhuizen has not been dropped from World Rugby’s elite panel due to a problem with his fitness.
A ‘local official’ told the Sunday Times that this had been the case.
SA Rugby referees rejected the claim in an article on its website on Wednesday.
‘The top referees are tested by a fitness expert three or four times a year – at every referees’ camp. Not once did Van der Westhuizen fail an official fitness test.
‘One of the tests is the yo-yo test, a demanding fitness test similar to the beep tests. The pass mark for a top referee is 18.1. Van der Westhuizen’s consistent mark is 19.3. Richie McCaw did 19.2, Sonny Bill Williams 19, Conrad Smith 19.4, and they had to tackle and be tackled, push and jump apart from running.’
The article also highlighted the fact that Van der Westhuizen was not to blame when he was stood down as an assistant referee from a Six Nations match in Dublin earlier this year, because he had attended an England practice sesssion to help the players with aspects of the laws.
‘It was World Rugby that was at fault, not Van der Westhuizen. They had OKed England’s request and then, with an apology, withdrew [him] from the match because of a protest.’
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