CAPE TOWN - Mark Keohane has looked at the positives and negatives from the past weekend's round of Super Rugby fixtures.
1. The officiating in round two was shocking. These guys call themselves professionals. They are the on-field custodians of the game, but on reflection they are the court jesters. There was inconsistency in the application of so many laws and there was confusion about the law, given this contrasting application. It didn’t matter whether the game was in Australia, New Zealand or South Africa, the officials ruled differently on the same circumstance. What constitutes a penalty, a red card, a yellow card or a friendly chat? I don’t know because where one referee gives a penalty or a caution the other is asking the Television Match Official for several different angles to decide on the colour of the card. It was embarrassing for the game.
2. Still with the referees and iin particular, the Rebels versus Reds in Melbourne. In Melbourne the Reds should have been reduced to two reds cards within the first 25 minutes because of foul play, through a strike to the head and a tip tackle where the player landed on his head. Safety is a paramount to the application of the law, but now referees and the assistants are becoming medical experts in determining what is force and what can cause damage. Anything to the head can cause damage and who are the referees to determine one blow is more dangerous than the other? The law is clear, a blow to the head has a sanction. Referees have become coaches, would be shrinks in applying game management and now they’re doctors. For God’s sake could they just be referees, who know the law and apply it consistently.
3. Why is mediocrity of so many white South African rugby players never questioned when it comes to the topic of merit? Results in Super Rugby for last 20 years with 90% white squad selections have been abysmal, yet transformation gets blamed ahead of white player mediocrity. I will not apologise for challenging the outrageous belief in this country among so many people that white equals merit & black equals development. It is simply unacceptable that the Lions and Bulls run on teams remain so white. SARU’s leadership needs to act because the franchises up north refuse to embrace transformation.