DURBAN – This weekend’s referee for the Sharks vs Chiefs clash is New Zealander Mike Fraser.
He has been under some pressure after his performance in the Stormers clash, featuring the same Kiwi opposition, last weekend.
Fraser was heavily criticised for his display in Cape Town with questions being raised by former Springbok coach Nick Mallett as to why a New Zealand referee gets to referee a New Zealand team playing away from home.
“I do think the Chiefs were assisted by the referee Fraser. I don’t think he had the best game and I am not so sure about the system where New Zealand referees ref New Zealand teams. I am not saying this as a biased South African supporter,” Mallett said in the SuperSport studio after the game on Saturday.
It did not only stop at criticism as Gert Smal, the boss at Western Province’s Rugby Union, confirmed he had laid a complaint with SANZAAR.
Smal did not divulge the aspects he felt Fraser got wrong, but said that he generally was not happy with the referee’s performance.
Fraser now has another crack at the Chiefs, and it remains to be seen which way his allegiances will sway, or if he will be able to be more neutral.
There is no belief that referees go out to be intentionally biased, but they are human, and are subject to different pressures.
The news that complaints have been laid by SA sides may even see Fraser subconsciously overcompensate more towards the Sharks.
Whichever way it goes, there will no doubt be a massive spotlight cast over Fraser and his performance come 3pm on Saturday, in Durban.