Marius Jonker
Marius Jonker

Stormers get Jonker as TMO again

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Mar 15, 2016

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The Stormers were not happy with Marius Jonker’s controversial penalty try decision last week, but now they will have to deal with him again after Jonker was named as the TMO for Saturday’s clash against the Brumbies at Newlands.

The on-field referee for the Brumbies game is Jaco Peyper, who will be assisted by Jaco van Heerden and Cwengile Jadezweni.

Last Saturday, Stormers No 8 Schalk Burger remonstrated with New Zealand referee Mike Fraser on the field after Jonker recommended that Siya Kolisi be penalised and be given a yellow card after Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach stretched over the line in an attempt to score a try.

Reinach played the ball on Kolisi’s foot, but Fraser referred the incident to Jonker, who said that the Stormers flank had kicked the ball out of Reinach’s hand, which therefore warranted a penalty try and yellow card.

Burger told Fraser in exasperation, “Didn’t you see the replay?”, but Fraser was having none of it and stuck with Jonker’s call. Jonker has subsequently insisted in media reports that he was correct with his decision, while former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan disagreed with the outcome.

A detailed explanation on the www.sareferees.co.za website concludes by saying the law was correctly applied by Jonker and Fraser, and that “The penalty try seems thus a fair decision”.

In terms of the yellow card, the website said that Reinach would probably have scored the try and that Kolisi’s foot getting in the way was “foul play”, and that Law 10.2 states “A player who prevents a try being scored through foul play must either be cautioned and temporarily suspended or sent off”, which means a yellow card.

Describing what Kolisi did as foul play could be down to interpretation, though. If one accepts that any connection between the ball or foot is a kick, then the penalty try is justified.

But it would be harsh to say Kolisi committed foul play as he put his foot down to try and tackle Reinach and stop the try, and that is what has led to the howls of protests from Stormers supporters.

Coach Robbie Fleck was diplomatic about a difficult situation and didn’t take a stand on the matter, but did say that Kolisi was “upset” about the incident.

The Stormers will have their hands full against the unbeaten Brumbies, who Fleck said were the pace-setters so far this season. So the last thing the Cape side need is having another controversial TMO or refereeing decision going against them.

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