Australian referee Paul Marks has been weighed by his peers and found wanting. The assessment of his performances to date has proved unsatisfactory and in the words of SANZAR refereeing chairman Lyndon Bray, he will “not easily” be selected to referee again in this year’s competition.
Now SANZAR and Bray have taken a bold step here – usually these sorts of things happen behind closed doors without the greater rugby-watching public ever knowing anything about them. For the reffing community to actually stand up and admit that one of their own stuffed up badly enough to be stood down is quite a momentous thing. Then again, it was done in response to a travesty of momentous proportions and my argument is that this action does not go anywhere near far enough.
Let’s call a spade a shovel here. Marks has been effectively suspended for the frankly ridiculous decision not to award the Sharks a penalty try in the dying moments of last weekend’s game against the Waratahs. Bray can wrap this up in as much fancy language as he likes, but the reality is, were it not for that utter shocker of a decision, all of Marks’ other transgressions would have been overlooked. Now while it is a positive thing for the Super 14 as a whole that we will no longer be subjected to the particular brand of idiocy that Marks brings, for the Sharks, this must feel like a very hollow victory indeed.
What exactly are SANZAR saying here? Paul Marks made a horribly, horribly wrong call at a crucial moment of the game and that call essentially ensured that the wrong team won – the wrong team walked away with 4 log points. SANZAR has tacitly admitted that the call was horribly wrong and made the decision to suspend the ref. But what if those log points – wrongly awarded – now go on to be decisive in deciding a semi-final spot (or, perhaps even more pertinently, a side’s relegation from super rugby)?
Surely the right thing to do here, since SANZAR have already admitted that the call was wrong, is to overturn the result of the match and award the win to the Sharks? It’s never been done, sure, but following this matter to its logical conclusion, it’s the only course of action that is internally consistent and makes an iota of sense.Tweet