In news unlikely to disappoint anyone not from the land of the long white cloud, the IRB’s parochial refereeing manager, Paddy O’Brien, has stepped down from his position to focus on Sevens rugby. The international body has also announced changes to its top refereeing panel.
Out of favour go two referees that for varying reasons have raised the hackles – Kiwi Bryce Lawrence, whose cack-handed officiating during South Africa’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to Australia blurred the line between ineptitude and cheating to such an extent that nobody could separate the two, has lost his spot on the panel, as has South Africa’s Mark Lawrence. The latter, who is related to Bryce only in the standard of their refereeing, started out as one of South Africa’s finest, but has over time moved towards a detached, even arrogant, style of officiating that seems to get everyone’s backs up. It would, I guess, be understandable if he actually got his calls right, but I fear that’s hardly the case these days.
There’s a real down side to Mark Lawrence’s demotion, though – if he’s not blowing high profile tests, I guess we’ll see that much more of him in the Currie Cup. Oh joy!
Excellent up-and-coming local ref Jaco Peyper has made the elite panel for the first time. The new panel comprises George Clancy (Ireland), Jérôme Garcès (France), Craig Joubert (South Africa), Nigel Owens (Wales), Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Romain Poite (France), Alain Rolland (Ireland) and Steve Walsh (Australia).Tweet