KSA Shark ©

Two referees?

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 1 Feb 2010 at 05:05
Tagged with : , ,

Super rugby could follow in the footsteps of the NRL and introduce a dual-referee system as soon as next year.

Josh Rakic writes for Rugbyheaven Australia that Australian Rugby Union boss John O’Neill, Australian Super franchises and players have been unanimous in their support of providing fans with a more attractive style of rugby in 2010. And should those efforts fail, national referees’ coach Andrew Cole revealed a radical contingency plan had been hatched.

”Having two refs is certainly something we’re thinking about,” said Cole, a veteran referee of 31 Tests. ”It’s been discussed. It’s been trialled in lower grades in South Africa.

”We do watch a lot of other sport and other games and how the officials interact, and all that sort of stuff, and we are keeping a close eye on that development. At this stage it’s something we’re certainly keeping a close eye on. It’s got some merit.”

The Super 14 has already introduced a new interpretation of breakdown laws for this season intended to reward the attacking team – defenders will be banned from interfering with the ball and forced to roll away, get to their feet and allow the tackled player to release the ball back to teammates.

And it is hoped the move will encourage attacking teams to better utilise the ball and reduce their heavy reliance on kicking to gain field position.

”[Introducing two refs] depends how the game goes this year with those new interpretations, I guess,” Cole said. ”At this stage we’re sticking with the breakdown adjustment but it [two refs] is definitely an option.

”I know it was trialled in Durban, but those things tend to need development. I think they found issues in that the game is complicated at the breakdown and therefore because there are so many offences that can occur that it could have refs on either side of the breakdown with different interpretations.

”Again, it’s got some merit but at this stage it hasn’t pushed forward beyond that.”

NRL television audiences, crowd figures and general interest boomed under the two-referee system’s inaugural season in 2009, which allowed for a free-flowing, attacking style of football. Cole admitted that had sparked further interest among the rugby fraternity. In the meantime however, he also revealed referees had been instructed to heavily police offside players from kicks in 2009.

”They’ll be cracking down on players advancing in front of the kicker and that’s another thing that will hopefully open up a bit more space on the field,” Cole said.

”The idea behind the breakdown interpretation is to make for more attractive rugby. That’s the intention. It’s the same idea behind the offside.

”The genesis of them was at the post-Super 14 review in August last year where there was a coach and referee representative from each of the three countries – Dave Nucifora represented Australia.

”What they’ve found is that referees have been too lax on players being offside and in front of the kicker, and therefore when the player receives the ball there’s a straight line of defence in front of him. So he’s first option, his only option really, is to kick it back.

”Whereas if we were harder on those players who were offside in front of the kicker, that would open up some more space and hopefully for some counter-attack.

”And I guess, that’s an area where a second referee could be an advantage. At the moment we work with the referee and two assistants, so hopefully they will be helping with that sort of thing, but two refs is certainly something we’re thinking about [if things don't work out as planned].”


  • KAK idea and here’s why.

    One of the funniest sights I’ve seen on a rugby field occurred during an experiment to trial the effectiveness of two referees and the opposing teams were simultaneously awarded a penalty.
    It happened at Stellenbosch after Doc Craven decided to trial the efficacy of having two match officials in the (still to be resolved) quest to ensure accurate, consistent and reliable refereeing.

    The referees involved were South Africa’s leading duo at the time; Freek Burger, later to take on the role of head of referees at SA Rugby and former Springbok centre Wynand Mans.

    It seemed to be going quite well until, at a melee in front of the grandstand, both officials blew hard on their whistles, raised their arms aloft and with their backs to each other awarded both sides a penalty.

    For a moment Burger and Mans seemed to be at a loss on how to resolve the comical situation but then decided to go with the first offence even though there was some doubt as to which of the teams had committed it.

    It was not the outcome Doc Craven had hoped for and the upshot was that the “two referees” idea was shelved and, even though there have been suggestions that it should be re-visited, I have never seen it tried again.

  • Comment 1, posted at 01.02.10 05:07:16 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • Having two refs is certainly something we’re thinking about,” said Cole, a veteran referee of 31 Tests. ”It’s been discussed. It’s been trialled in lower grades in South Africa.

    typical kak from an Aussie. Yes it WAs tried. MANY years ago and it will never be tried again.

  • Comment 2, posted at 01.02.10 05:08:15 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 2) I agree Andre the last thing we want is to copy the NRL or anything Aussie for that matter!!

  • Comment 3, posted at 01.02.10 10:29:09 by Whindy Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner
    WhindyCurrie Cup player
  • All we have to do to resolve the issue around the rucks is go back and watch some good old 70′s and 80′s rugby. There is enough there to prove that rucking produces quick ball.

  • Comment 4, posted at 01.02.10 12:25:58 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of RugbyTeam captain
  • Good Grief ! 2 Refs, that`s all we need. Just imagine double the penalties :roll:

  • Comment 5, posted at 01.02.10 14:11:24 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 5) : yeah – about as useful as having two belly buttons :)

  • Comment 6, posted at 01.02.10 14:13:58 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • One of the current complaints is the different application of different laws by different referees. Imagine two refs on the field at the same time.

  • Comment 7, posted at 01.02.10 14:43:48 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • The problem will not be resolved by threwing two refs on the field. The rugby bosses need to simplify the rules. The Rugby League works great due to the rules being cut and dry (there are some contentious issues here and there I’ll admit) but the game flows notwithstanding. The reason Rugby League is so popular is due to the flow of the game. Having two refs helps, but simplify the rules first! Too many rules and too open to interpretation.

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.02.10 08:07:00 by Butchie Reply

    ButchieAcademy recruit
  • @Butchie (Comment 8) : I think the issue of too many interpretations (or too much scope within the laws for interpretation) is the key one. The laws need to be black or white and universally applied as such

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.02.10 09:03:44 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • agreed. you also need consistency in decisions made. the only way you get that right is by having your best refs blowing the majority of the games. they do it in football, they do it in the NRL. Even if that means refs have two games a weekend, for consistency you need the best refs doing their job.

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.02.10 11:49:55 by Butchie Reply

    ButchieAcademy recruit
  • @Butchie (Comment 10) : well, I think it’s more a case of getting rid of the guys who have shown, time and again, that they’re not up to the job. I really wonder why more people don’t take up reffing…

  • Comment 11, posted at 02.02.10 11:57:21 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach

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