Willie Roos, the South African Super 14 referee, has come in for much criticism from Stormers’ supporters but André Watson, South Africa’s manager of referees, insists that he did nothing wrong in the Schalk Burger incident.
Sharksworld Note: I know we have different threads dealing with similar stories but I would like to post this article as purely an official review of what happened leading up to, during and after the sending off of Schalk Burger. And only becasue for some reason there is no video footage of the incident readily available.
SA Rugby Referees reports that in the match at Durban, Burger was given a yellow card following a scuffle and went off in a rage, gesturing and shouting at Roos who was the touch judge at the time and who had been consulted by the referee, Kelvin Deaker of New Zealand.
Roos had come in for criticism from the Stormers’ camp following his refereeing of the match the week before between the Stormers and the Bulls. They had sent in a complaint to SARU about his refereeing, There was clearly a lack of confidence in his ability.
The following can be deduced from the television evidence which was strangely scanty, not finding a different angle on what happened.
The Sharks were attacking. They were attacking from a five-metre scrum when Francois Louw of the Stormers tackled Ryan Kankowski who knocked on. This produced a five-metre scrum to the Stormers in the corner on their left.
They won the scrum and Luke Watson drove to set up a tackle/ruck from which Enrico Januarie cleared to touch. When Watson picked up and drove Burger went to ground with him. Johann Muller of the Sharks was to the right of the tackle maul with Brian Mujati of the Stormers opposite him. They were both possibly ahead of the last foot. Muller wanted to charge forward to Januarie but Mujati was in his way. Muller pushed Mujati who charged back headfirst at Muller who went to ground.
It was after this that Burger was involved. When the action is next shown, Muller is lying on his back on the ground with Burger hovering over him.
The referee stops play.
He then says to Roos: “Willie, have you got something there.”
The referee strides across the field to Roos.
Roos said: “White and Black players on the ground. No problems. 6 came up from nowhere and played them.”
(The Stormers wore white, the Sharks black. Burger was wearing No.6.)
When Roos spoke about the players on the ground, Deaker said: “I saw that.”
When Roos had finished his account which carried no recommendation, Deaker said: “Yes, I saw him. I’m going to yellow-card that player.”
Deaker said to Jean de Villiers, the Stormers’ captain: “Two players playing by themselves. Number 6 did not need to get involved.”
Deaker shows Burger a yellow card. Burger is indignant and says to Deaker: “What did I do?”
As Burger marches off he makes angry gestures at Roos, including twice pointing his fingers at his eyes and asking Roos in Afrikaans if he is intensely blind.
There is evidence to support what Watson says of Roos. He was asked for a report and gave what he saw, though “nowhere” may be an exaggeration. It was his duty to give the report. That is part of the assistant referee’s duty. He did not recommend the card. He was not asked for a recommendation as the referee had himself seen the incident.
Burger’s reaction was unfair. But then the Stormers had already expressed their lack of confidence in Roos. Perhaps that is what triggered the player’s reaction.
The question of the yellow card is a moot one. It is not uncommon for a player to get a yellow card when he gets involved in differences between other players. But there was one in the Six Nations that did not produce a yellow card.
Italy attacked down the left and Ezio Galon chipped towards the line. Mike Phillips of Wales fell back, knocked the ball, over his line and, under pressure from Gonzalo Canale, made the ball dead just inside the dead-ball line. Phillips, who plays rugby with a saturnine soul, looked angry at Canale. It was not the first time that he looked angry during the match. The referee whistled for a five-metre scrum to Italy but Italy’s replacement scrumhalf Pietro Travagli came running from a long way back. From the Welsh 22 he ran over the goal-line and the length of the in-goal area – all that way and then he gave Phillips a ladylike push.
It was childish but instead of a five-metre scrum to Italy it was a penalty to Wales.
Instead of a line-out on the 22 in Durban it was a penalty to the Sharks, which Ruan Pienaar goaled to get his side, trailing 10-0, on the scoreboard.
But Travagli was not sent to the sin bin.Tweet