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RefereeSANZAR have warned coaches that taking unnecessary pot-shots at referees could land them in hot water.

New Zealand referee Chris Pollock has been axed from the Super Rugby play-offs, because of poor form.


The decision to drop the Kiwi down the pecking order comes in the wake of a growing chorus of outcries against the declining standards of refereeing.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, Blues coach John Kirwan and Waratahs mentor Michael Cheika all criticised referees at the weekend.

SANZAR Chief Executive Greg Peters, in an exclusive interview with this website, confirmed that they will not tolerate abusive behaviour towards match officials.

“We are looking at those at present and considering them,” when asked if there had been any complaints about all the coaches having a go at referees.

“Ultimately we don’t want to stifle debate on the game,” Peters told this website.

“There is no problem with a genuinely held belief that a decision [made by a referee] was wrong, [when] using temperate language.

“However, if it goes to questioning the integrity of the referee or is abusive or insulting [language] that is when it is of more concern to us.”

Coetzee, in his post-season assessment after the team’s 30-13 victory over he Bulls at Newlands at the weekend, pulled no punches – despite his team already having being fined once this season in a stand-off with officialdom.

Coetzee said he felt there were two matches in which questionable calls from match official cost his team – defeats which ultimately cost them a place in the Super Rugby play-offs.

The Stormers coach’s verbal barrage against match officials came on a weekend which also saw Kirwan and Cheika  launch scathing attacks on referees.

An incensed Kirwan demanded referee Chris Pollock be held accountable for his ruling in a red-card controversy which he said ruined their Super Rugby match against the Chiefs at the weekend.

And Cheika has joined his colleagues in taking aim at the poor standard of refereeing in Super Rugby, suggesting they are turning the game into ‘touch rugby’ – with Steve Walsh the target of his scolding.

Earlier in the season former All Black coach Graham Henry, who is now a Blues assistant coach, was let off with a reprimand and an agreement to issue a public apology – having labelled fellow Kiwi Keith Brown a “blind TMO”.

The growing number of coaches crying out against referees and other match officials suggest the problem needs to be addressed urgently.

The axing of Pollock, New Zealand’s No.1 referee, will be seen as a step in the right direction.

But Peters warned coaches that there is a fine line between acceptable criticism and abusive behaviour.

62 Responses to Super Rugby: SANZAR not happy with Ref-bashing by coaches

  • 51

    @ grootblousmile:

    Bulls v Sharks, SA vs Samoa etc. did not look soft to me 🙂
    If anything it is getting tougher hence the powers that be are trying to prevent serious injury.
    I often wonder how there are not more injuries in a game! The size, power and speed of these players are not compareable to the teams of the 80’s and before IMO.

  • 52

    It seems Chris Pollock, NZ Super Rugby referee who has now been stood down a bit… agrees with me!

    Check here:

  • 53

    @ grootblousmile:

    The referees are judged all the time – referee assesors are at every game – yes these reports should be transparent.
    Maybe someone at the NSA could forward these to us 😉

  • 54

    51 @ JT:
    Come on… talk to any former front rower, hooker, lock… and they will tell you that a lot of the guile and opportunity has been taken out of the scrum engage.

    Talk to any hooker and he’ll tell you that a good straight throw and therefore a chance at a deserved tighthead is almost non-existent at present.

    Talk to anybody who played when CONTROLLED RUCKING was the rule, how quickly you moved away from the wrong side in a ground ball situation..

    Once again, I’m not saying abandon all rule and make it unsafe… I’m saying do not get rid of the reasons we like the contest, do not get rid of the gladatorial nature of the game…. make it easier to officiate.

  • 55

    @ grootblousmile:

    I was a hooker when all these things were applied – my fav part of the game was to ruck the bliksim out of a ruck!

    I am all for bringing back the “slipper” rucking!
    HOWEVER I am all for bringing back the type of scrum engagement from the 70’s – watch the Baabaas v NZ from 1973 – there was no HIT!

    The scrum HIT has nothing to do with guile – that comes in the hook & push when the ball is fed straight! Apply the LAWS correctly IMO.

  • 56

    Fark, the newbie is keeping me out of my bread and butter work…


    JT, we’ll have many more engaging talks here…. business calls.. and the tills have to keep rolling!

  • 57

    55 @ JT:
    I was an opensider…. I got moerred and rucked many times… and did the same back.

  • 58

    @ grootblousmile:
    @ JT:

    Ek stem 100%. Plan moet gemaak word met die skrumreels, dis n tydmorsery, te tegnies ook, niemand weet wat flippin aangaan nie, kyk maar net bv Brock Harris teen Greyling verlede Saterdag…

    Wat die refs betref, hulle het veral die Stormers gekos vanjaar, moerse klomp swak beslissings wat die WP drie wedstryde in beseringstyd laat verloor het.

  • 59

    58 @ Pietman:
    Selfde storie met 2 van die Bulls se close nederlae oorsee die jaar… omstrede beslissings.

    So is ek seker dat elke span dieselfde sal kan sê…

    1 Outjie wat uitstaan as goeie skeidsregter die jaar is Glen Jackson… hy het self Super Rugby gespeel… hy is baie goed maar moenie grootkop kry nie.

  • 60

    @ grootblousmile:
    Ja, Glen Jackson, het Saterdag vir my swaer dieselfde gese, hy is goed. En hy is geensins n prima donna wat oral wil in die spotlight wees soos party van die ander nie, hulle hou te lang vergaderings op die veld man, konsultasies, en wat nog….breek die ritme van die wedstryd.
    En ek moet se, ek hou van Steve Walsh ook.

  • 61

    55: welkom John Travolta, goed dat daar nou iemand is wat die refs kan beskerm hier teen die Sharks en Province wolwe wat niks goed te sê het vir ons arme our reffies nie. Ons Bulle ondersteuners probeer objektief en kalm bly, maar ai, daardie ouens van die Kaap, kannie die refs uitlos nie.

    Kom ou John, sing bietjie daar vir die refs: Staying Alive ! (Bee Gees)


  • 62

    61 @ ben-die-bul:
    Moenie die LEEUS ondersteuners vergeet nie.

    Ons het nie EEN klag oor skeidsregters gehad so ver vanjaar nie.


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