Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan

Jonathan Kaplan

Top retired referee Jonathan Kaplan has called on referees to stamp out the illegal tactic of holding players back in rugby games.

Much of the attention these past few days has been focused on the red card given to Sharks flanker Jean Deysel and his three-week ban for making contact with the face of a Crusaders player out of frustration as his leg was being held.

But there has been little attention to the fact that the tactic of illegally tackling players away from the ruck, or holding onto them is the problem that often causes the frustration for players and causes them to lash out.

While not trying to justify Deysel’s actions, there is an increasing tendency for teams in Vodacom Super Rugby – particularly those from New Zealand – to use the tactic of holding players back, or use up the space in front of the ball, allowing the ball carrier to slip in behind. It does seem to be an Australasian tendency that is slowly increasing in Super Rugby this year.

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