Former All Blacks coach JOHN MITCHELL compares the SA conference-winning Sharks' 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign to that of the champion Waratahs.
With Sanzar game manager Lyndon Bray having outlined the directive for 'high-intensity and high-octane rugby' in this year’s Super Rugby tournament, I believe it will be the referees, and not the teams, who will determine the evolution of the competition.
How the referees officiate the breakdown, for example, will determine team's tactics and the quality of rugby that's produced. At the tackle contest, referees will need to ensure that the fetcher stays on his feet, supports his own body weight, and releases the tackled player.
Other aspects that will determine the pace of the game are: how long referees opt to play advantage for (after turnover ball or the award of a penalty), how quickly they decide to blow for a free kick following a collapsed scrum, and when they start awarding scrum penalties instead of free kicks.
Photo: Gallo Images