robdylan

The man in the middle


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Lions, Original Content, Sharks on 15 Oct 2014 at 10:34
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Referees are, of course, custodians of the law between the four white lines, with rugby pundits across the globe always quick to point out that, somewhat uniquely, rugby has “laws” rather than “rules”. For the man tasked with blowing Saturday’s Currie Sup semi-final between the Lions and the Sharks, understanding the intricacies of applying technical legal interpretations is really nothing new.

Jaco van Heerden, you see, is actually a qualified advocate with six years of legal practice experience to his name, to go along with a decade’s worth of refereeing scars, admittedly at lower levels. At only 31 years of age, he’s one of the new breed of young refs on the scene and it will be interesting to see whether he can resist the temptation to call Marco Wentzel or Jacques Botes “Oom” on Saturday.

His name will not be a familiar one to fans – and with good reason. Van Heerden was only promoted to the SARU senior panel this season and would appear a rather strange choice to blow a Currie Cup Premier Division semi-final, having only two senior Currie Cup games to his name. Then again, with the way more experienced refs have been blotting their respective copybooks with sub-standard performances this year, maybe a breath of fresh air is just what we need?

Hoping Jaco lives up to the promise that has clearly been identified within the refereeing echelons at SARU and delivers a solid performance with the whistle on Saturday.



40 Comments

  • Big call to give him semi, hope he’s fair and good!

  • Comment 1, posted at 15.10.14 10:39:54 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    DragnipurSuper Rugby player
     
  • He is a cautious ref and often refers to the tmo, not sure he is completely ready for the big(ger)leagues but he will be good.

  • Comment 2, posted at 15.10.14 10:40:37 by Talent Reply
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    TalentCurrie Cup player
     
  • What’s van Heerden’s first name?

  • Comment 3, posted at 15.10.14 10:44:52 by ChrisS Reply
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    ChrisSSuper Rugby player
     
  • Damned if he does Damned if he don’t either way tuff to b a ref just hope he blows a fair contest

  • Comment 4, posted at 15.10.14 10:50:58 by Jasongibb Reply

    Under 19 player
     
  • @ChrisS (Comment 3) : my apologies…. I forgot that I hadn’t actually used his name in the opening para, hence omitting it in the second.

    It’s fixed now.

    Gosh, sometimes my fingers and my brain just aren’t on the same page.

  • Comment 5, posted at 15.10.14 11:04:08 by robdylan Reply
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  • Both semi final refs are inexperienced…but then so are the players so why not give them a go. Im glad we got Van Heerdan not Pro Legote, i just dont like the way he refs. I dont think he lets the game flow.

  • Comment 6, posted at 15.10.14 11:50:58 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • @Jasongibb (Comment 4) : haha true

  • Comment 7, posted at 15.10.14 11:54:22 by pierre_mackie Reply
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    pierre_mackieTeam captain
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Lol! All good :grin:

  • Comment 8, posted at 15.10.14 12:00:56 by ChrisS Reply
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    ChrisSSuper Rugby player
     
  • Which CC games did he ref?

  • Comment 9, posted at 15.10.14 12:06:20 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 9) : please don’t ask me that, because I really don’t feel like going and individually checking each one.

  • Comment 10, posted at 15.10.14 13:35:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 9) : @robdylan (Comment 10) : well according to Lionsworld he did four games Lions/Bulls, Quas/FS, Lions/Pumas and Puma/WP. He also did Vodacom cup final and two games in France of which one was a rather big one (Racing/Stade).

  • Comment 11, posted at 15.10.14 14:17:48 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 6) : Pro has been around for quite a while hasn’t he? Even reffed some SR games a few years back I think.

  • Comment 12, posted at 15.10.14 14:49:23 by PTAShark Reply
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  • @PTAShark (Comment 12) : ja, Pro has been around for a long time.

    Never seems to get any better, though.

  • Comment 13, posted at 15.10.14 14:56:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 13) : Hahaha I didn’t want to say it! Poor guy has absolutely no clue around the scrums. Penalties galore.

  • Comment 14, posted at 15.10.14 15:01:10 by PTAShark Reply
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    DragnipurSuper Rugby player
     
  • Jaco was reffing Paris derby Racing Metro vs Stade Francais last weekend. Racing Metro coach didn’t like him for some reason even though the TMO assisted with a decision to award Stade a try. 2 yellow cards dished out during the game. One for a tip tackle and the other for a player kicking the ball away from a ruck.

  • Comment 15, posted at 15.10.14 15:05:01 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @PTAShark (Comment 12) : HE has been around a while but was an assistant ref for ages. He hasnt consistently reffed top level till this year. He isnt bad..im just not a fan of the way he lets the game flow and the way he communicates to players

  • Comment 16, posted at 15.10.14 15:21:26 by SheldonK Reply

    SheldonKAssistant coach
     
  • good news for the under 19s…. Ben Crouse (a Waterkloof staff member) has been removed as ref for the game against the Bulls and replaced by the slightly more neutral Jaco Pretorius.

  • Comment 17, posted at 15.10.14 16:29:56 by robdylan Reply
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  • Respect for the ref is sacrosanct and the most important aspect of the game we love.

    I urge you to look past the failings or otherwise of your matchday official.
    They make less mistakes than the players themsevles and, sadly, the rules today are so subjective that two different refs could come up with 6 different decisions.

  • Comment 18, posted at 15.10.14 16:50:04 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • My wife always says racists are stupid people.
    I put those that incessantly moan about refs in the same category!

    No ref goes out to try to ruin the game for one side – they’d be ruining their careers with the same biased decisions.
    They’re just trying to do their job, reffing a game that is notoriously subjective. End of the day they’re just calling it like they see it.

  • Comment 19, posted at 15.10.14 16:53:59 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 19) : Have you read Kaplans book?

    If not, I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy it.

    Edit: Actually anyone who hasn’t read it should do themselves a favour and get it.

  • Comment 20, posted at 15.10.14 17:22:20 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 20) :

    I havent as it goes.

    Ive just tried to ref a few games and its not really fun or easy.
    I shudder to think how tough it must be at international level.
    That said, my next-door neighbour growing up is now reffing Super Rugby so it cant be that difficult!

  • Comment 21, posted at 15.10.14 18:01:54 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 21) : so hardly an unbiased defender of the match official set…. :)

  • Comment 22, posted at 15.10.14 18:10:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 22) :

    Yoh Rob, that was low. Ice cold man. Laag en gemeen ou. ;-)

    Nah seriously, im not even joking. I see the standards with which refs are addressed declining every season, both internationally and feeding through to younger levels.

    Just for a laugh you might enjoy this one – a mate of mine was reffing Army Navy in the US and yellowed a guy who took a cheap shot at his opponent on the ground, outside of play.
    So the crowd bellowed their disapproval at the yellow card and the offender’s coach was going crazy, screaming “what was that for” in my mate’s ear.
    Answering as loudly as he could, and with a deadpan face turning towards the crowd, my mate replied “Cowardice. I sent him off for cowardice”.

    Given this was an Army Navy game that was the end of it!

  • Comment 23, posted at 15.10.14 19:02:22 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 23) : I don’t think any ref will ever be perfect and that’s not what I expect. All I ask for is consistency! !!!! And aorry to say but I think you are wrong there’s certain refs that will give every 50/50 call against a certain team to favour “their” team. I for one will feel much beter if refs were not as “untouchable” as they’re now and that they would admit more to their mistakes.

  • Comment 24, posted at 15.10.14 20:06:44 by JD Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 10) : Sorry – thought you had the info on hand already.

  • Comment 25, posted at 16.10.14 07:51:26 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • There is a huge difference in reffing an amateur school game and reffing a professional game,namely a large sum of money that the ref earns.The performance should reflect the salary and like in anything else if the ref is not up to scratch,he should be sanctioned.
    The refreshing acceptance of Nigel Owen, is not due to anything else but the man’s unbiased competence,appreciated by both sides.
    This should be the norm but unfortunately it is a rare occurrence.The only way to stamp out incompetent refs is for the public to refuse to accept them..Bryce Lawrence’s incompetence robbed us of a world cup,but it was only the South African paying public’s refusal to tolerate him that led to his demise.
    More ex player’s should be encouraged to ref,I think of guys off hand like Stephan Terrblanche,Hennie le Roux or Rob Louw,who have remained fit enough,and are confident enough not to be intimidated by the occasion.The ref is the key component in the contest,and should be the most competent that money can buy

  • Comment 26, posted at 16.10.14 08:55:32 by The hound Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 24) :

    I must disagree with you there mate.
    And just consider for a second that you’re normally supporting one of those sides when you’re claiming the ref is biased. And supporting a side in a sport where the laws are notoriously subjective.
    Just a thought.

    Refs make mistakes – of course they do. They’re reffing in real time, with the benefit of opnly one pair of eyes, where the TV coverage has many more eyes.
    I believe there are refs that ref a certain way and thus dont always suit the side you’re supporting – granted – but that doesnt mean theyre biased – it just means your side hasnt been able to adapt to the nuances of the referee.

  • Comment 27, posted at 16.10.14 10:33:30 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • @The hound (Comment 26) :

    Ex-players like Glen Jackson?

  • Comment 28, posted at 16.10.14 10:34:19 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • Hope this guy can take the pressure of reffing a big game with a biased crowd………….

    Lions probably ahead with 9 points.

    (I will gladly eat some more humble pie if he can prove me wrong)

  • Comment 29, posted at 16.10.14 10:39:16 by SharksRTB Reply

    SharksRTBCurrie Cup player
     
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 29) : That crowd is likely to be closely balanced between Sharks and Lions fans. Ellis Park must be the Sharks home away from home as far as fan support.

  • Comment 30, posted at 16.10.14 11:03:29 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 30) : Also true.
    Hope they pitch up and help the boys

  • Comment 31, posted at 16.10.14 11:05:55 by SharksRTB Reply

    SharksRTBCurrie Cup player
     
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 28) : Yes like him,,and you miss my point on Nigel Owen ,how great is it when you get two games like the last two internationals he reffed where supporters of both sides are happy with his performance,and that is what every game should be.
    Certain refs like a Mr.vander Merwe take incompetence a step forward to where it is so suspect it can only be crooked,because no human being can be that stupid on such a regular basis

  • Comment 32, posted at 16.10.14 11:08:12 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 32) :

    Not so much lost as I just feel perhaps not apt. In my humble opinion of course.
    I’m unsure whether it was just two great games between two great sides that meant that the ref had little influence over the game.

    Like anybody else I want unbiased refs – i dont really want to notice the ref on the pitch too much.
    I just think its often bone-headed sides that end up criticising the refs for losses. They’ll point to this or that stat and say the ref blew them off the park.
    In my experience, however, it always seems to happen to the same sides, leading one to question whether they are being hard-done by by refs (from various countries), or whether these sides are unable to vary their gameplan and approach when a ref feels they are transgressing.

    A case in point – the Boks of yesteryear would bemoan a ref’s ruck interpretation, for example. They wouldnt change their approach, however – just after the game they’ll say the ref’s interpretation was wrong.
    A more street-smart side would vary the manner in which they approach the rucks if that ref is refereeing.
    You can imagine how the various sides and fans would view the ref after each of these games.

    Basically – if you’re too hardegat to change your approach when you’re getting blown off the park, then obviously you’re going to think you’re getting picked on.
    Thats not the ref’s fault.

  • Comment 33, posted at 16.10.14 13:39:29 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • Too good not to share. Thanks Morne/PR
    Rugby’s first “own try”.

  • Comment 34, posted at 16.10.14 15:42:18 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 27) : Sorry to say but I disagree. Some refs are bias and let one team get away with murder whilst penalising the other team. Take not I said some refs and not all refs!!! What also gets my blood boiling is the fact that no matter how poor a ref is he seems to be untouchable and nobody can say a word about it or they will get fined or reprimanded. If in my work I make half the mistakes some of these guys make I will be in deep dudu or even fired, but hey let’s agree to disagree.

  • Comment 35, posted at 16.10.14 16:36:27 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 35) :

    Sorry to say but I disagree. I believe some refs are bias and let one team get away with murder whilst penalising the other team.

    Let me correct that for you…

    Let me add further that i surmise you’re talking about (a) the Sharks and (b) the Boks?
    Can you not see that you’re not being objective about it?

    Refs are all graded after every game, even the ones not being paid that run out every Satruday to ref club games, rain or shine.
    If refs are shit (as judged by real referees, not you and the rest of the armchair bandits) then they dont get to progress up the ranks.
    Same as every other job.

    As for your comment about refs being untouchable, thats just nonsense, as is comparing their job to yours.
    Firstly, i reckon you probably do make more mistakes than them on a weekly basis. Secondly, their performance is reviewed much more thoroughly and frequently than yours. Thirdly, when you’re prepared to publish your performance reviews for all to see, we can talk about the ref’s performance.

    You see, at the end of the day, for every fan that thinks the ref is having a mare, there’s another fan somewhere that thinks he’s had a great game.
    I believ you can only judge a ref when watching a game in which you have zero personal involvement.

    Lastly, it is my considered opinion that most fans dont know their arse from their elbow, much less the intricacies of the ruck or the front-row. And thats with the benefit of replays, slow-mos and plenty camera angels.

    I do not believe professional referees in any way go out onto a pitch with the idea that they are not going to be fair.

  • Comment 36, posted at 16.10.14 16:58:07 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 36) : Well said Vin. Personally if my job involved as much scrutiny and pressure as a refs I’d be looking for a new line of work.

  • Comment 37, posted at 16.10.14 17:45:05 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 37) :

    Thanks bro.

    One last thing – when we talk about competency – just think of the following.
    A bright young South African referee whom i know perosnally spent many years working as a rugby video analyst before picking up the whistle fulltime.
    That sort of work provides a level of insight most fans could only dream of.

  • Comment 38, posted at 16.10.14 18:50:28 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • @gregkaos (Comment 34) : That is beeeaauuuutiful!!

  • Comment 39, posted at 16.10.14 23:49:13 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 25) : As far as I can tell, he reffed Lions v Bulls on the first weekend and Lions v Pumas a few weeks ago. Both times the Lions got big wins, so again: the Lions are OVERWHELMING FAVOURITES!! (though I’m obviously hoping that the law of averages kicks in!)

  • Comment 40, posted at 17.10.14 00:06:34 by pastorshark Reply
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