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Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

The hearing date for SANZAR’s appeal against the decision to rescind Frans Steyn’s Red Card has been postponed until next week.

The Sharks centre was sent off after performing a tip-tackle on Chiefs flyhalf Aaron Cruden in their Super Rugby clash in Durban last Saturday.

Steyn was cited following the game, but was then found not guilty at a subsequent hearing, with the Red Card expunged from his record.

However, SANZAR felt justice was not served and appealed the decision on Wednesday.

The initial date for the appeal was set for Friday, but has now been extended until next Tuesday.

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Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

SANZAR has lodged an appeal against the outcome of a judicial hearing held on Monday 23 March that found Francois Steyn of the Sharks not guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j).

A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Terry Willis, with Nigel Hampton QC and Robert Stelzner SC as members, will hear the appeal via videoconference on Friday 27 March 2015 at 08:00 SA Time (17:00 AEDT, 19:00 NZ Time).

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the appointments of the Match Officials for Round 7 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

The Brumbies have a BYE weekend.

There are 7 Super Rugby games this weekend, 2 on Friday and 5 games on Saturday.

The weekend’s action is kicked off by Stuart Berry in the game between the Hurricans vs Melbourne Rebels at 08:35 SA Time. Thereafter also on Friday the Reds host the Emirates Lions at 11:00 SA Time, where Glen Jackson will be the man with the whistle.

On Saturday the action starts early, at 05:30 SA Time, when the Chiefs host the Toyota Cheetahs in Hamilton, controlled by Craig Joubert in the middle. Thereafter it is the Highlanders vs DHL Stormers in Dunedin at 08:35, where Rohan Hoffman will be in charge. Next up, at 10:40 SA Time in Sydney, the Waratahs host the Blues where Jaco Peyper will preside.

On Saturday afternoon and evening in South Africa, the Cell C Sharks host the Western Force in Durban at 17:05 SA Time, with Nick Briant in charge. The Last game of the weekend sees the Vodacom Bulls take on the Crusaders in Pretoria at 19:10 SA Time, where Angus Gardner will be the man in the middle.

Considering the shenannigans last weekend in the game between the Cell C Sharks and the Chiefs, where 3 Red cards were dished out and a further player cited after the game, here’s hoping that the Match Officials are impartial and sees themselves as facilitators of the game and not controllers and here’s hoping that player-dicipline is markedly better than in Round 6!

All we can and should ask for is even-handed application of the Laws and rules.

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Liam Messam

Liam Messam

Chiefs captain Liam Messam’s citing has been upheld after the charge was amended to an act contrary to good sportsmanship.

However, there has been no sanction placed on the All Black flank.

Messam was cited, along with teammate Hika Elliot, Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis and centre Frans Steyn, after a spiteful game in Durban last weekend.

The Chiefs captain was cited after the match for tackling and gripping Sharks flank Renaldo Bothma around the neck in a ruck – the incident went unnoticed by the match officials on the day.

A SANZAR judicial hearing has found Messam guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship.

No sanction has been imposed on the player.

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The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden has accepted a guilty plea from Bismarck du Plessis of the Sharks for contravening Law 10.4 (c) A player must not kick an opponent, after he was sent off following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Du Plessis has been suspended from all forms of the game for 4 weeks up to and including 18 April 2015.

The incident occurred in the 18th minute of the match between the Sharks and Chiefs played at Kings Park in Durban.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden assessed the case.

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Steve Walsh

Steve Walsh

The Australian Rugby Union today announced international referee Steve Walsh has retired from all forms of match officiating with immediate effect to pursue business interests outside of rugby.

The 43-year-old is a veteran of four Rugby World Cups. Walsh made his Super Rugby refereeing debut in 1997 and took charge of a Test match for the first time a year later when Argentina played France and has refereed 56 Tests, making him the 3rd most capped international referee of all-time.

Steve Walsh said: “I have lived my dream and I am truly grateful for every experience that I have had in rugby. It’s been an incredible journey.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the Match Official appointments for Round 6 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

This weekend once again only sees 6 games in stead of the usual 7 games.

The Blues, Reds and DHL Stormers all have a BYE weekend.

There will be 2 games on Friday 20 March, 3 games on Saturday 21 March and 1 game on Sunday 22 March 2015.

The weekend’s action is kicked off by Ben O’Keeffe, when the Highlanders host the Hurricanes in Dunedin on Friday, 08:35 SA Time, whereafter Mike Fraser takes charge of the game between the Melbourne Rebels and the Emirates Lions at 10:40 SA Time, also on Friday.

On Saturday Andrew Lees will referee the game between the Crusaders and the Toyota Cheetahs at 08:35 SA Time, well before Nick Briant takes charge of the game between the Vodacom Bulls against the Western Force at 17:05 SA Time. At 19:10 SA Time on Saturday evening the Cell C Sharks take on the rampant Chiefs, refereed by Angus Gardner.

On Sunday we have one lone match between the Waratahs and Brumbies, where Craig Joubert will be in charge, at 07:05 SA Time.

3 Games are of particular interest this weekend, namely the derby between the giant killing Highlanders vs Hurricanes who is the only unbeaten side in 2015. Thereafter on Saturday evening, the Cell C Sharks are up against the Chiefs who is in superb nick and on Sunday we have the tasty Aussie derbie between the Waratahs and Brumbies.

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James Broadhurst

James Broadhurst

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from James Broadhurst of the Hurricanes for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Broadhurst has been suspended from all forms of the game for 1 week up to and including 20 March 2015.

The incident occurred in the 61st minute of the match between the Hurricanes and Blues played at FMG Stadium in Palmerston North on 13 March 2015.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the Match Official appointments for Round 5 of the 2015 Super Rugby season, including Shaun Veldsman’s return to the TMO box in Cape Town after recovering from a recent knife attack.

The Action is started off by Glen Jackson in the match between the Hurricanes vs Blues and followed on Friday with Rohan Hoffmann officiating in the game between the Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels.

On Saturday, Nick Briant takes care of the Crusaders vs Emirates Lions clash, followed by Craig Joubert in the Highlanders vs Waratahs clash, followed by Andrew Lees in the Reds vs Brumbies clash. Later on Saturday Jaco Peyper is the Referee in the DHL Stormers vs Chiefs clash and the weekend is concluded with Chris Pollock officiating in the Toyota Cheetahs vs Cell C Sharks clash.

Hopefully we see some correct and cosistent officiating in Round 5 and no matches are adversely affected by dubious decisions by the officialdom.

There has been some seriously contentious decision-making by Referees, Assistant Referees and maybe even more worryingly so by the TMO’s in Super Rugby, the Varsity Cup and even the SIX Nations in 2015. Something will have to be done to bring more consistency between interpretations of match officials and to get fair results, failing which the game of Rugby Union will continue to suffer and lose part of it’s supporter base. Just this week I have spoken to 2 individuals who have indicated that they have lost all interest in rugby due to the nature of officiating!

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Rugby-TalkIt’s PUB NIGHT again… I have finally shaken off my lazy bones… for tonight!

The heading suggests we talk about Match Officials, Guide Dogs for the blind… and how inept decisions are ruining our beautiful game, but keep it tidy boys or yerrrr might be “Fetching” some Yellow Cards… from this TMO… hahahaha!

Yesterday, during Round 5 of the Varsity Cup, I was absolutely flabbergasted and quite frankly livid about the inept handling of the 1st game between Maties and UJ. Clearly TMO Shaun Veldsman’s recent unfortunate incident where he was attacked and knived somewhere on the N2 (under some strange circumstances, it would appear) has not cleared up his bad eyesight and in fact it might have worsened his case of “selective viewing syndrome”, because he awarded a try to Maties after the scrorer… wait I HAVE TO put that in inverted commas… “SCORER” had fallen short, stretched out, planted the ball way short of the tryline and then proceeded to roll the ball at least half a full revolution forward to get to the line! How THAT could have been construed as a try, is beyond me!

Not even an all-seeing Guide Dog for the blind will save old Veldtie from his fate…

It’s also not as if Maties needed the Match official intervention and they were bound to score a try anyway, with the rugby they were dishing up at the time!

The things is, although this was only Varsity Cup rugby, it was being officiated by seasoned referees and match officials, not you local brand of “Affie-plaas 1-eyed, brandy-guzzling biased numbnuts”.

Officiating like this gets my goat, it mars the game we love and it turns a fair contest into a circus!

It is time to play fair in the PUB tonight, the FIRST PUB NIGHT of March 2015.

Let’s focus on the PUB tonight…. the idea with PUB NIGHT is to lighten up our dull Tuesday evenings with music, comedy and fun.

Rugby takes a backseat tonight as the clan and fellow rugby nutters gather and wheel in their old friends…

Read the rules below carefully, or you WILL get burnt!

Just for clarity sake, when someone does not adhere to the Rules of the PUB, EVERYBODY jumps on them and pummels them, right… understood?


Here’s how it works:

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the Match Official appointments for Round 4 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

This weekend there are only 6 games (and not the usual 7), with 2 games on Friday 6 March and 4 games on Saturday 7 March 2015.

The Round starts with the Chiefs against the Highlanders in Hamilton, followed by the Brumbies against the Western Force in Canberra.

On Saturday the Blues host the touring Emiratas Lions before the Reds tackle the Waratahs in Brisbane and then later in the day there are the 2 exciting South African derbies, that between the Toyota Cheetahs against the Vodacom Bulls, followed by the game between the DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town.

The Crusaders, Hurricanes and Melbourne Rebels have BYE weekends this week.

From a competition point of view, there are only 4 teams still undefeated in 2015, namely the Chiefs, Hurricanes (on a BYE this weekend), the Toyota Cheetahs and the DHL Stormers. The question now is whether the 3 teams out of these 4 winning sides, who play this weekend, can keep the momentum up this Round in Hamilton, Bloemfontein and Cape Town – all home games for them?

The second question is whether the Match Officials will be better than in the opening 3 Rounds, or whether we will once again see some disputable decisions which have a material influence on the outcome of the games? Match Officiating has been particularly tardy, inconsistent and infuriating at the start of Super Rugby this year.

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WhistleRound 3 of Super Rugby 2015 sees 3 matches on Friday and 4 matches on Saturday.

The Round starts off with the Highlanders up against the Reds in Dunedin and the Round finishes with the local derby between the high-flying DHL Stormers against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg.

SANZAR has announced the Match Officials for Round 3 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

  • Chris Pollock was not considered for selection after sustaining a minor injury during his pre-game preparation last Saturday. He will be given another week to return to full fitness.
  • Jaco van Heerden is set to make his Super Rugby debut refereeing the Vodacom Bulls vs Cell C Sharks match. A law graduate and Advocate to the High Court of South Africa, Van Heerden played rugby for his university before later turning his attention to refereeing. The 32-year old handled himself with aplomb in his first Currie Cup match during the 2014 season and it was no surprise that he was awarded a Semi-Final later in the year.
  • Our thoughts and best wishes are extended to Shaun Veldsman and his family after the TMO was assaulted and stabbed in his vehicle following last week’s match between the Stormers and the Blues in Cape Town. We wish him all the very best for a speedy recovery.

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Guinness Pro12Round 15 of the Guinness PRO12 started on Friday night and concluded on Sunday with the position at the top the same as when the Round started, with Glasgow Warriors still looking down on the other 11 from the pinnacle of the table. However, they have increased their lead and are now 4 points ahead of 2nd placed Ulster.

There could have been no greater difference in emotions experienced after the matches than that between Newport Dragons captain Rynard ‘Ligtoring’ Landman and Munster’s flyer JJ Hanrahan. Landman would have been feeling low and filled with nervous anticipation following his Red Card for elbowing Connacht’s flyhalf Jack Carty early in their match. JJ Hanrahan on the other hand would have been feeling on top of the world following his very late try which earned Munster a draw against Llanelli Scarlets.

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Shaun Veldsman

Shaun Veldsman

South African Television Match Official (TMO) Shaun Veldsman was assaulted in his car after officiating Saturday’s Super Rugby match between the Stormers and Blues at Newlands.

According to reports, Veldsman was attacked in his ‘bakkie’ on the N2 after leaving the stadium.

The incident occurred at about 21:00, with Veldsman on his way to Robertson. He was stabbed in his lung.

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Finn Russell

Finn Russell

Finn Russell, the Scotland outside half, appeared today before an independent Six Nations Disciplinary Committee at Heathrow, having been cited under Law 10.4 (e) and (i) for an alleged dangerous tackle of an opponent in the air in the 31st minute of the RBS 6 Nations match between Scotland and Wales on Sunday 15 February 2015.

The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Mike Hamlin (England) along with Jean-Philippe Lachaume (France) and Pat Barriscale (Ireland), having heard from the player and his representative and viewed various TV angles of the incident, determined that Finn Russell had committed an act of foul play which merited a Red Card rather than the on-field Yellow Card given by the Match Officials.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced Match Official appointments for Round 2 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

On Friday we have 3 matches, with the Chiefs hosting the Brumbies, the Melbourne Rebels hosting the Waratahs and the Vodacom Bulls hosting the Hurricanes.

On Saturday we have 4 matches, with the Highlanders kicking off their season after an early BYE weekend against the Crusaders, the Reds against the Western Force and followed by 2 games in South Africa, the one between the DHL Stormers against the Blues and the Cell C Sharks against the Emirates Lions.

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Scotland (10) 23 / 26 (16) WalesScotland

Where do we begin in analysing a game full of movement, liberally spiced with controversy, which ended with Wales the victors at BT Murrayfield, thus extending their unbeaten record against Scotland to 8 games?

Scotland, who contributed so much to the contest, remain pointless in the RBS 6 Nations Championship as Wales bounced back from their opening round defeat by England.

Scotland will now welcome Italy to BT Murrayfield at the end of this month, which captain Greig Laidlaw cites as a “massive” game.

“We’re getting better as a team, becoming stronger but we need to get a result,” he said.

“Small margins,” has been the mantra in international rugby for many a year but we saw it so painfully from a Scottish perspective this afternoon.

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WhistleNick Briant will officially get the 2015 Super Rugby season underway in Christchurch when he takes the whistle for the Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels clash on 13 February.

Angus Gardner will oversee the Brumbies vs Reds which follows immediately afterwards in Canberra, with the Australian duo of Rohan Hoffmann and Andrew Lees sharing duties in South Africa for the Emirates Lions vs Hurricanes and Cell C Sharks vs Toyota Cheetahs matches.

The highly-experienced Chris Pollock and Jaco Peyper get the whistle for much-anticipated Round 1 derbies in Auckland and Pretoria respectively with new additions to the 2015 squad, Ben O’Keeffe and Jaco van Heerden assisting on the line in those matches.

Finally, Steve Walsh will be in the middle as the Waratahs get their title defence underway at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium against the Western Force on Sunday 15 February.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced its referee squad for the forthcoming Super Rugby season with Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Jaco van Heerden (South Africa) promoted and in line for debut during 2015.

O’Keeffe started refereeing whilst at medical school in Dunedin and quickly progressed through the ranks. He has featured in the Heartland Championship, ITM Cup, as a Super Rugby assistant and at the 2014 Junior World Championship where he earned appointment to the final between England and South Africa.

His father Peter also refereed at provincial level and when he’s not in the middle, O’Keeffe practices as an eye doctor in Wellington, New Zealand.

Pretoria-born Van Heerden meanwhile is an Advocate to the High Court of South Africa and joins Super Rugby ranks having made rapid progress applying law on rugby fields throughout his home country.

The 32-year old handled himself with aplomb in his first Currie Cup match during the 2014 season and it was no surprise that he was awarded a semi final later in the year.

A University of Pretoria Law Graduate, Van Heerden played rugby for his university before later turning his attention to refereeing.


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WhistleSuper Rugby starts in a month’s time with a match in Christchurch with Nick Briant to referee it.

SANZAR has released the names of the referees for the first three Rounds.

Briant referees the first match in New Zealand, Angus Garner the first in Australia and Rohan Hoffman the first in South Africa.

Jason Jaftha was injured for 2014 and his fitness needs to be assured for this year.

Marius van der Westhuizen will be refereeing his first Super Rugby match overseas after reaching Super Rugby last year.

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WhistleIt has been a year for referees much as any other year – a year of highs and lows where the best they can hope for is no complaints from players on the field and no complaints from watchers off the field.

Referee abuse remains a universal problem for referees. Glen Jackson, once a great player and now a great referee, said that there was a difference between playing and refereeing, for you could make 5 mistakes as a player and then get cheered for doing something well. In refereeing you are jeered for doing something perceived to be wrong and after that nothing that you do can rehabilitate you in the eyes of the beholders.

Much of the abuse is a repeat of what commentators have to say, regardless of whether what they say is wrong.

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WhistleSouth African referees Jaco Peyper, Craig Joubert, Stuart Berry and television match official (TMO) Shaun Veldsman will all officiate in the 2015 Six Nations competition, World Rugby has announced.

Peyper will take charge of the match between France and Wales on 28 February at Stade de France in Paris, while Joubert will officiate the clash between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on 1 March, with Veldsman in the role of TMO.

Berry, meanwhile, was named as an assistant referee for the matches between Italy and Ireland at Stadio Olimpico in Rome on 7 February and Ireland and France in Dublin on 14 February respectively.

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Craig Joubert

Craig Joubert

South African referee Craig Joubert has scooped the prestigious Referees’ Referee of the Year award.

Joubert received the award at the annual course for top referees in South Africa, the SA Rugby Referees website reports.

Chairperson of the SA Rugby Referees’ Society, Steve Meintjes, made presentations to members who had achieved exceptionally.

The following awards were presented:

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Referee: John Lacey

Referee: John Lacey

Ireland’s John Lacey will referee Saturday’s Test between Wales and the Springboks at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Lacey, 41, was also in charge of the Springboks’ Rugby Championship clash against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld in August this year. The Boks won 13-6.

Saturday’s Test will be his 11th to date.

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Varsity CupThe FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International for 2015 is set to continue its grand tradition of trying out experimental laws, further cementing the tournament’s status as a testing ground for the laws of rugby.

This season sees the exciting reintroduction of the WHITE CARD – which was used in the inaugural 2008 Varsity Cup Final. The WHITE CARD is a card that can be used by either coach or captain to review a decision by the referee.

This exciting experiment is endorsed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU). Andre Watson, SARU General Manager Referees, had the following to say on the WHITE CARD.

“This is a step in the right direction to assist referees to get that important decision correct, and to put some responsibility on the captain and coaches to help with the process.”

The WHITE CARD challenge system is to only be used during the Varsity Cup. The team challenge, or WHITE CARD, can be called by the team coach or captain.

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WhistleThe Match Officials for all End Of Year Tours (November Internationals) as well as all other rugby of significance have been named.

South African referee, Jaco Peyper, is appointed for the England vs Samoa match and Glen Jackson will officiate in the Ireland vs Australia game in Dublin.

South Africa gets another French referee, Jérôme Garcès for the clash against Italy in Padua, whereas the Wales vs All Blacks game in Cardiff will be handled by Stuart Barnes.

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Nigel Owens

Nigel Owens

The Rugby Football Union has launched an investigation into alleged homophobic and racial abuse of the Welsh referee Nigel Owens by a group of England supporters during the defeat by New Zealand at Twickenham last Saturday.

Owens told The Telegraph that he welcomed the investigation but revealed he has considered quitting the sport because of an increasing level of homophobic abuse in stadiums and on social media.

The investigation was launched after the RFU received an official complaint from a supporter who also outlined the extent of the alleged abuse directed at the 41 year-old official during England’s 21-24 defeat in a letter to The Guardian newspaper.

“As a lifelong rugby fan, a straight man in his 60s, I could not believe that a bunch of men half my age watching a rugby match in the 21st century could be capable of hurling such nasty, foul-mouthed, racist, homophobic abuse at an openly gay match official,” wrote Keith Wilson, from South Yorkshire.

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