‘Referees protected for too long’

Six former players on what can be done about underperforming rugby officials.

WERNER GREEFF (former Bok fullback)

'A judicial hearing after a useless performance and a ban matching the extent of the damage caused would work. Referees have been protected for too long and players and coaches alike feel officials are untouchable. The frightening part is because incompetent officials are rarely stood down, it’s now seen as suffice punishment. It’s not. It’s time officials own up to their blatant mistakes and be held accountable. And I’d start with the TMO in the Hurricanes-Chiefs game.'

ANDRÉ PRETORIUS (former Bok flyhalf)

'Referees should be evaluated after each match and if there are one or two mistakes, mark it down as human error. But if there is a series of questionable calls in various matches made by the same referee, then there is definitely a problem and the individual in question should be suspended. The governing body should also be bold and tell it like is.'

GAFFIE DU TOIT (former Bok flyhalf)

'It’s becoming more difficult to be a rugby official with the laws always changing. But that doesn’t mean they can do as they please. To be in control of any sports contest, officials must uphold a certain standard and I don’t see that across the board in Super Rugby. Sanzar must monitor the officials and constantly review their performances. If basic errors are made on a regular basis, dock the official's salary and pull him out of the system through suspension, instead of papering over the cracks like they’re doing at the moment. And like players, referees should have a record of their indiscretions. What will make things easier is if referees are given an opportunity to go and work on the areas of the game where they struggle.'

ADRIAN JACOBS (former Bok centre)

'They need to implement harsher sentences for those referees. In the past, refs have gotten away with a slap on the wrist or a game deducted from them, which isn't enough. Too much rides on a game, and a bad decision can mean a team loses a game. You can't have these errors every week, and the referees should be held to the same standards as the players when it comes to punishments.' 

OLLIE LE ROUX (former Bok prop)

'It's a tough job, especially for the inexperienced guys. Long-term they should focus on coaching the referees more rigorously in certain scenarios, and assess their performances in closer detail and attention. Short-term they should consider implementing a more interactive coaching style, and have an assessor present at the games. At half-time the coaches would be able to address the assessor with their grievances, and if the assessor agrees, then he can address the referee during the half-time break.'

WAYNE FYVIE (former Bok flank)

'They should be punished, and Rohan Hoffmann is being punished. His demotion likely means a loss of income, and that's certainly a fair punishment.'

Mark Keohane: Refereeing is a shambles

Referee Rohan Hoffmann and TMO George Ayoub demoted

Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Post by

Mariette Adams