The Bulls have not seen the last of Australian rugby referee James Leckie. He has been appointed to handle their Super 14 match against the Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld on April 12.
Morris Gilbert of Beeld writes that the match will be the first one at home for the reigning champions after their tour of Australasia.
They will be hoping that Sanzar, the controlling body for South African, Australian and New Zealand rugby, will get rid of Leckie before the match.
The Australian has had a series of disappointing Super 14 performances.
It will be particularly interesting to see how Peter Marshall, the Australian Rugby Union’s manager of referees, reacts to Leckie’s errors during the match between the Bulls and the Blues in Auckland last week.
According to a report in the Canberra Times, Marshall recently criticised SA referee Willie Roos for awarding 39 free kicks and penalties during a match between the Hurricanes and the Brumbies.
Marshall was quoted as saying he could identify with parts of a letter in which Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher had expressed his frustrations and disappointment with Roos’s performance.
“We cannot afford so many interruptions because they are detrimental to the game,” he said.
Preferred not to comment
The way Roos handled the match did not influence the result, unlike Leckie’s performance in Auckland.
André Watson, the SA Rugby Union’s manager of referees, on Monday preferred not to comment on Leckie’s handling of the match.
He said, however, Leckie should not have awarded Keven Mealamu’s second try because it was preceded by blatant obstruction and offside play by a Blues forward.
“When the assistant referee nearest to the action was unable to say whether there had been obstruction, Leckie should have called on the television match official,” Watson said.
“Even though one cannot be convinced that Pierre Spies would have prevented the try, a penalty should have been awarded because the Blues player who committed the obstruction was offside.”
Watson agreed that the Bulls also had reason to feel aggrieved over the home team’s first try, which had been referred to the television official.
“What we see at home is exactly the same video footage that the TMO sees. And judging by that, he could not be certain that Troy Flavell had scored the try.”
Watson said the question Leckie should have asked was whether the TMO was able to confirm whether the ball had been grounded and whether there was any reason not to award the try.
* Derick Kuün, Bryan Habana and Wynand Olivier did not train on Monday but all the players in the Bulls squad will be considered for the team’s last tour match, against the Western Force in Perth on Friday.Tweet