KSA Shark ©

Refs to clean up the breakdown

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 30 Jan 2009 at 06:30
Tagged with : , , ,

Modern rugby’s eternal problem – the breakdown – will be the centre of focus when the Super 14 kicks off on February 13.

Superrugby reports that the IRB has instructed referees to try to ensure more of a contest for the ball at the tackle through a change of emphasis on what they will be looking out for.

Andre Watson, SA Rugby’s manager of referees, has confirmed an instruction from the IRB aimed at “emphasising a fair contest for the ball.”

“What the IRB’s directive is trying to achieve is to create more of a contest for the ball at the tackle – to move away from the tendency that had developed to be more tolerant on the attacking side, allowing them to seal off the ball, to go off their feet.

“We want to see a real contest for the ball, with the first players arriving at the tackle really fighting for it,” he explained.

A subtle change will be referees not calling a ruck until it has clearly formed, allowing for a longer and fairer contest for the ball.

“I believe it will create more excitement, there will be more turnovers and we’re hoping to see quicker and cleaner ball,” he added.

Watson has been hard at work with his various panels of referees to ensure uniformity.

He called in the Springboks’ scrum “doctor” Balie Swart to give the officials an insight and feel for what happens in the frontrow and believes the IRB’s newest directives will bring about a fairer game – “which after all is all we’re asking for.”

Some of the other orders given to the arbiters should benefit South African sides, especially those aimed at removing the subtle infringements that have crept into the lineouts – such as early lifting on the opponent’s throw and stepping into or crowding the spaces.

“It’s more of a re-emphasis when it comes to the lineouts,” explained Watson, “and it also goes to wanting a fair contest. By coming down on early lifting, barging or stepping across we hope to ensure that the team throwing in the ball enjoy the advantage they’re meant to have.”

Other pointers to referees for the new season also go to areas which lead to regular complaints – proper binding and putting the ball in straight in the scrums, eradicating foul play and the aggrieved modern phenomenon of “cleaning out.”

“We want to eliminate the missiles,” said Watson in his characteristic pithy way. “We want to see players on their feet moving the obstacles. No shoulder charges and flying tackles. It’s common sense really and we just want to be stricter on it.”


  • Cape Town. – “One of the leaders in our squad … Luke Watson.”

    That is how Stormers captain Jean de Villiers introduced Watson to a cheering crowd at the Cape Super14 team’s kick-off party at Newlands.

    Not a single boo was heard and the only player that received a bigger cheer than Watson was veteran fullback Percy Montgomery.

    Watson was also a popular choice among fans posing for photographs with their favourite players.

    He was jeered by a section of the crowd in Sunday’s match against English club side Saracens at Newlands. That followed on last year’s remarks at a rugby festival where he said he had to keep himself from vomiting on the Springbok jersey.

    His coach, Rassie Erasmus, said after Sunday’s game that true supporters would support the teams he picked.

    Watson was delighted on with the reception he and the team got at their party.

    “It was wonderful. It was very encouraging after the slight situation on Sunday,” said Watson.

    “I did not know what to expect, but the crowd endorsed me as a person. It shows they are Stormers supporters through and through.”

    Western Province president Tobie Titus was glad about the positive reception Watson received.

    “It was encouraging and I hope it’s a sign that the storm is over,” said Titus.


    I can’t believe this propaganda! Why are they trying to turn Puke into a hero? Don’t boo him if you’re not that way inclined – but why try to make him a hero? Imagine playing with someone like that? I don’t think this is good for the Stormers in any way…

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.01.09 08:47:56 by Frisbee Reply
    FrisbeeVodacom Cup player
  • The breakdown is a mess. NH refs were told to make sure pplayers stay on their feet and not seal off the ball.

    Started off well but now hardly anyone gets penalised especially after 75min when it seem it’s ‘legal’ for some reason. :roll:

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.01.09 10:35:47 by McLovin Reply
    McLovinAssistant coach

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