Andre Watson says it is time for World Rugby and professional referees to stop being so sensitive about criticism for poor performances.
“My feeling has always been, and still is, that if referees want to blow at that level, they have to take responsibility for their actions,” Watson told Rapport newspaper.
The comments from the former Test referee and SA Rugby Manager of Referees are poignant given World Rugby’s current disciplinary hearing against Rassie Erasmus – this in response to a video critical of referee Nic Berry produced by the SA Rugby director during the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa.
“Along with the recognition, money and benefits also comes criticism and it does not make sense to me that recognition and praise are accepted by referees and their bosses, but not criticism. Or at least not in public.
“It comes with the territory. I feel the referees are too sensitive about this.”
“My opinion is that rugby can only improve – and the supporters, coaches, players and officials will better understand referees’ performances and will accept referees more – if there is more transparency.
“The open and honest communication between referee and coach is very important,” added Watson.
“World Rugby decided years ago that the answers to video clips that the referee returns to the team should be seen and signed by the referee boss. That is a good thing otherwise the referee can simply say that he was right every time.”