He’s back. Card-toting Australian rugby referee Matt Goddard has had his slap on the wrist and has been set loose on the Super 14 again.
Marc Hinton reports for Rugbyheaven NZ that SANZAR’s list of referee appointments for the upcoming round of matches has confirmed the officious Aussie, who was stood down after an over-the-top performance in the round-six Hurricanes-Bulls match in the capital, has been given a chance to show he’s learnt his lesson.
Goddard dished out five yellow cards and one red one in the Canes-Bulls match as he took a zero-tolerance policy into ruling on the breakdown.
He also showed some fairly dubious player management techniques in the match, calling into question his ability to handle this area of the game.
Sanzar referee officials in New Zealand and Australia confirmed Goddard had been stood down a week while he undertook his review process out of the match.
It was found that at least two of the cards issued were incorrect rulings and officials said he was to be taken through his performance and advised accordingly.
Still, New Zealand fans can breathe a little easier as Goddard will only be eased back into action via what is the round’s lowest profile fixture, the clash between wooden-spooners the Cheetahs and the ACT Brumbies in Bloemfontein.
It’s to be hoped he’s learnt his lesson, and the proof will be in the pudding at the weekend.
Experienced South African whistle-blower Craig Joubert will take charge of what could be the clash of the round, the Bulls’ visit to Christchurch to take on the defending champion Crusaders.
The Cantabs have won two in a row to arrest their month-long decline and the Bulls are coming off their first defeat of the campaign, against the Highlanders in Palmerston North.
Aussie Paul Marks will have the whistle as the rampant Chiefs look to continue their stunning run of form at home against the Lions on Saturday night, while South African Marius Jonker will be in charge for the other contender for match of the round, the Hurricanes’ visit to the table-topping Sharks in the wee hours of Sunday morning, NZ time.
Referee appointments for week 8 of the Super 14:
Crusaders v Bulls, Christchurch (Craig Joubert, SA);
Western Force v Queensland Reds, Perth (Stuart Dickinson, Aus).
Chiefs v Lions, Hamilton (Paul Marks, Aus);
NSW Waratahs v Stormers, Sydney (Bryce Lawrence, NZ).
Cheetahs v Brumbies, Bloemfontein (Matt Goddard, Aus);
Sharks v Hurricanes, Durban (Marius Jonker, SA).