Vodacom Bulls head coach Jake White has called in the assistance of veteran South African referee Tappe Henning to help his team adapt to the law interpretations in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
Henning has been working in the United Kingdom for the past eight years as a match official commissioner for Scotland rugby, gaining an intimate knowledge of local refereeing.
White reached out to Henning after the first two rounds of the URC revealed that the South African teams were struggling to adapt to the differences in law interpretations between northern- and southern- hemisphere referees.
Henning is expected to join the team in Cardiff for the next few days.
“Before this competition, we spent time with the South African referees to try and get us ready for what to expect up north,” White said.
“As it turns out, it hasn’t been what we thought it would be. So I reached out to Tappe to come and watch our game against Cardiff Rugby, and then advise us on where we need to adapt.
“As the Bulls we’re using our resources as effectively as we can, and we’re happy to help out the Sharks if we can as well.”
Henning explained that he was more than happy to assist the Bulls as it is in the best interests of the URC to have South African teams competing on equal ground when it comes to officiating.
“Jake asked if I would come and help and here I am,” said Henning.
“I informed the United Rugby Championship that I would be assisting the Bulls. John Lacey, the Irish referee, has done the same and is helping the Stormers with their questions. We accept there are differences and we’re all committed to overcome them.
“There is effort from all parties to sort it out because we’re all working on the same product with the same goal to help develop an exciting new competition and make it the rugby spectacle it deserves to be. The attitude up north towards the South African teams is not one of, ‘You’re coming to play in our competition, so adapt or die’. Not at all. They genuinely want to help the South African teams for the benefit of a strong competition.”
White has also made Henning’s services available to the Sharks, while Sean Everitt’s team are based in Cardiff.
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