Waratahs captain Phil Waugh has issued his second broadside on the standard of refereeing in the Super 14, questioning whether officials are taking the physicality out of the game.
Rupert Guiness writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that Waugh was incensed with South African referee Craig Joubert after the Waratahs lost 34-7 to the Crusaders on Friday night, especially with his penalty against Dan Vickerman in the 2nd minute.
Vickerman was pinged for obstructing Crusaders jumper Ali Williams in a line-out inside NSW’s 22 – but replays showed that the Wallabies second-rower did not block Williams. The subsequent Dan Carter penalty gave the Crusaders a 3-0 lead.
On the other hand, the Crusaders were lucky to escape being penalised on several occasions. In the 39th minute Richie McCaw got away with a decoy run that clearly blocked Waratahs No.13 Ben Jacobs, and to compound that error, Joubert penalised Lote Tuqiri for tackling the Crusaders skipper from the wrong side one phase later. Another Carter penalty made it 6-0 to the home side.
“I felt like we weren’t getting too many breaks from the referee, particularly in the first half,” Waugh said. “It just felt like we were getting absolutely hammered. To go down 6-0, [after] a couple of penalties which I didn’t think were justifiable …
“Vickerman [penalised for] attacking the guy in the air – that was pathetic. I looked at it on the screen. The player [Williams] didn’t even go to the deck. And then [Joubert] penalises us for taking him out.
“There are going to be close calls and it is a contact sport and blokes are going to get hit and things like that. But I am sure everyone saw that and would agree with me.”
Waugh previously vented his frustration about refereeing decisions after NSW’s 20-17 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton in round two.
In that game, South African referee Marius Jonker failed to call on the television match official to review whether NSW breakaway Rocky Elsom had held up Sitiveni Sivivatu over the line. The try to the All Blacks winger gave the Chiefs a 10-0 lead.
Waugh believes referees are failing to understand the ramifications of their calls and he was particularly upset with the penalty against Vickerman. “To go three points down, softly like that in a game … the refs don’t understand how critical those sort of calls are in the context of the game. It’s disappointing they don’t understand that,” Waugh said.
“It wasn’t dangerous play. He [Williams] didn’t go to the ground. [But] there is three points on the scoreboard, a minute and a half into the game.
“I don’t know what it is with the refs. But it seems like we are getting a little bit of the raw end of the deal. Maybe we should stop being so friendly to them in the hotel foyer and things like that.”Tweet