KSA Shark ©

Wake up! You’re spoiling a good game!

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 22 Apr 2008 at 07:47
Tagged with :

The weekly furoré over referees, with Bryce Lawrence in the crosshairs after Round 10, yet again illustrates a serious problem which administrators seem loath to address — match officials are having too much influence on the outcome of games.

The Superwrap team at Supperrugby write that Lawrence was in charge of the Sharks’ match against the Brumbies in Canberra and, how to put this in an undefamatory manner? appeared to be less than even-handed in the way in which he called the breakdown and ensuing “mucks” — the SuperWrap being of the opinion that rucks and mauls have now become the same thing!

The match had been on for some 20 minutes when a cellphone in the SuperSport Zone’s offices rattled and chirped on a desk. On the line (if you can say that of a mobile phone?!) was a person the Aussies would describe as a “rugby identity” asking: “Just wanted to check with you? Is this bloke Lawrence blowing one set of laws for the Brumbies and another for the Sharks?”

It was an interesting call because that’s exactly what the dedicated reporters in the midst of live-scoring the 62nd match of the season had been discussing.

Lawrence appeared to be allowing the Brumbies to get away with transgressions that he was not permitting the Sharks or, put another way, he was requiring actions and postures from the Sharks which he did not apply to the Brumbies.

It was noticeable that the Sharks were becoming frustrated and, as they say, the rest was history as Ryan Kankowski and Francois Steyn (although we struggled to see whether he was actually trying to play the ball trapped under 500 bodies) got themselves sin-binned; thus consigning their team to their first defeat of the season.

Of course it was stupid, and let’s face it the Sharks have had their fair share of luck when it comes to the whims of referees this season, but what was more worrying is that Lawrence seemed to allow himself to become irritated with the tourists rather than simply applying the law — which with the ELVs, the SuperWrap has to grumble, is no easy task to do.

Sadly the ELVs have given refs more prominence rather than less and it must surely concern rugby’s law-makers when they see a captain thus quoted: “The upsetting thing about us getting blown out of the game is that from Monday to Friday we had spoken about Bryce Lawrence, about the way he refs and how we had to leave him alone and show discipline,” said Johann Muller.

“That did not happen and that is very disappointing. We were pre-warned, but we did not react in the game.” Dear Lord, as the oldest member of the SuperWrap team might mutter, is this what the game has come to?

Teams have to prepare for what the referee might do because there are distinct and known tendencies among the panel of officials? Is this not all the proof needed that referees are having too great an influence on the outcome of matches?

Johann Muller will in all probability get into trouble for having questioned Lawrence but he is decent man who deserves better — just like Rodney So’oialo did when Paul Marks cost the Hurricanes their match against the Sharks.

The Sharks have not whinged but well they might have.

This is what Greg Growden, of the Sydney Morning Herald had to say in his column entitled “Monday Maul.” “The Sharks have good reason to complain about the refereeing of New Zealander Bryce Lawrence, as several of his rulings were extremely harsh. Lawrence at times seemed to be completely focused on picking up on Sharks misdemeanours…”

The Aussie television commentators also picked up a certain disparity so this is not just the wailing of a South African website. Will Bryce Lawrence’s performance be reviewed? Will he be ticked off if found to be out of line? Will we be told if were to be rapped over the knuckles?

The answer on all three counts is “No” and that, also, is very wrong.


  • Whats the point in bitching?

    Done it often enough and nothing changes…

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.04.08 08:22:36 by MorneN Reply
  • Alls fair on the swings and roundabouts… We have been pretty lucky so far this year so i guess its all even after that twits performance on Saturday.

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.04.08 08:41:55 by billy Reply

  • I’ve always questioned why players have to get used to a certain refs “reffing style”?

    Why bother with the rules then if everyone is allowed their own interpretation?

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.04.08 09:09:13 by blackshark (JAWS) Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • BS

    I have for a long time been a firm backer of playing to the ref.

    (I got quite a bit of stick for it when still reffing in SA) The leagues i reffed in didn’t have the advantage of being able to know who their ref was before the game and being able to analyse him. So my arguement was. “Play to what the ref allows you If he penalises the other team for something then don’t try and do that yourself you have seen how he reacts to it already” — Don’t say things like “did you see he allowed them to put the ball in skew?” Did you try it? Did he penalise you? Don’t cry about what he allowed the other team to get away with if you didn’t try and get away with it yourself. If you tried and he nailed you but then let the opposition get away with it then by all means moan about it.

    In short you want consistency from the ref regardless of how he interprets the laws.

    Now at THIS level the teams DO analyse the ref they are going to have on the weekend so as to learn his style. So there should be very few surprises as to how the ref is going to blow certain infringements. It is not right that each ref has a different style, but until they start cloning Mark Lawrence and ensure no Bryce lawrence genes are included that is what we will have to put up with.

    And by Put up with I mean deal with to the best of our ability by analysing the ref before the game. Except in cases where the refs marches around the pitch like my 9 year old who has been told her bike is off limits for the rest of the week. 😉 Then your analysis is of no use and the ref being consistent is an impossibility.

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.04.08 09:40:08 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • KSA – thanks for this article 🙂

    Is it only me? BUT I have noticed that the refs. seems to get a lot of the “limelight” of praise or criticism in after game blogs, newspaper reports etc.!
    Is the performance of the ref. now more importnat than the preformance of the players?
    Is the ref. now the “kingpin” of the game?
    Are they having tooo much influence on the outcome of the games?

    Soon people will be coming to watch rugby games purely to see how the ref. blows the game 😆

    In other words…..is performance of the ref. now more important than the game and the players ❓ ❓

  • Comment 5, posted at 22.04.08 09:49:00 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • Me2

    We have also had a request for something similar form another of our posters and he will be writing a piece for us (I still have to let him know though 😉 ) and we will then put that up. hopefully tomorrow.

  • Comment 6, posted at 22.04.08 10:03:44 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I’ll look forward to that 😀

  • Comment 7, posted at 22.04.08 10:09:26 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • This refs is wasting the ELVs. I always get the feel we are now more undone then ever when on tour. Oh well this time the Sharks get it for a first.

  • Comment 8, posted at 22.04.08 10:35:51 by PaarlBok Reply

  • PaarlBok, I agree with your first sentiments!! 🙂

  • Comment 9, posted at 22.04.08 10:44:37 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • Bad enough you have to analyse the opposition…now you have to analyse the ref…

    It’s pretty useless IMHO cos most of them are schirzophrenic (no offence KSA)…

    They can’t even blow consistently in the same half…

  • Comment 10, posted at 22.04.08 10:53:32 by blackshark (JAWS) Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Me2 – how did you manage to find the words that I was looking for? 😕

    When did it refs move from “guys who keep the order”…to guys who decide the game? Soon the players will have no endorsement deals and the refs will be the superstars will all the sponsorships.

    It looks like every Monday the refs get more media space than the players…

  • Comment 11, posted at 22.04.08 10:57:37 by blackshark (JAWS) Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Hi blackshark!!!

    My sentiments exactly…sick of reading about the “useless” refs. Why can’t rugby get its referring house in order….I really feel it is spoiling the game 😡

  • Comment 12, posted at 22.04.08 11:06:52 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • Another thing that gets my “goat” is that these guys are paid BIG MONEY to be sOOOOO incompetent 😡 😡 😡

  • Comment 13, posted at 22.04.08 11:09:37 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • I watch this ELVs now in our compos and start to like them but honestly the refs have no clue in S14 with the,. I dont blame the ELVs, think its the refs that need to be consistant in their rulings. One of the mayor reasons for them is just that (Refs to play a minor role in games outcome).

    I love watching schoolboy rugby and these make the game so much more open and quicker.

  • Comment 14, posted at 22.04.08 11:14:26 by PaarlBok Reply

  • Man is this guy a plonker or what?

    Please tell me he is an armchair fool who is being given airtime rather than a new scribe, or at least one I haven’t heard of before, on the block.

    ‘Sharks need to study refs’

    By Murray Staats

    The Sharks must be kicking themselves after allowing the Brumbies back into Saturday’s match-up in Canberra after such a dominant first half.

    Playing with 14 men for 75 per cent of the match can’t have helped matters.

    Ever since the inception of Super Rugby in the early 90s, I’ve always felt South African teams have been singled out for special attention by referees and I don’t think this year is any exception.

    Granted, our own Willie Roos is one of those referees who have over-embraced the new laws, but he’s an amateur compared to Steve “All eyes on me” Walsh and the school master-like Bryce Lawrence.

    While planning for the different styles and traits of different referees has become part and parcel of pre-match strategising, frustrations and lack of discipline are more often than not the result of inconsistent blowing.

    Even the notoriously partisan Australian commentators were confused with many of the Lawrence’s decisions that went against the Sharks.

    The height of Lawrence’s pedanticness was when he asked a bemused and visibly irritated Ryan Kankowski which card he would prefer, red or yellow.

    Both the yellow cards to Kankowski and Frans Steyn were for, according to Lawrence, repeated infringement at the breakdown, and it’s in this area the Sharks really need to study the referees in a horses for courses scenario because the referees’ interpretations of this highly-contentious facet of the modern game, has varied from game to game.

    It is however, great to see the Sharks joined in the top four by the vastly-improved Stormers, but with just four games left, there’s no time for complacency as an ominous pack of teams that includes the Chiefs, Blues, Hurricanes, Brumbies and Western Force all lie within striking distance of the play-offs.

    Two tough away games against the Waratahs and Crusaders lie in wait, followed by home games against the Cheetahs and a dangerous Chiefs team.

    Let’s hope Dick Muir’s preparations for the Sharks revolve around the strengths and weaknesses of these teams and not the men refereeing these vital games.

  • Comment 15, posted at 22.04.08 14:51:17 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • The height of Lawrence’s pedanticness was when he asked a bemused and visibly irritated Ryan Kankowski which card he would prefer, red or yellow

    It was probably a joke you PLANK!!!!!!!!! Kankow backchatted him when he was being binned and that is why he was called back and asked whether he would prefer the yellow or the red.

  • Comment 16, posted at 22.04.08 14:52:41 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • 75% of the match?

    Umm, more like 25%…

  • Comment 17, posted at 22.04.08 15:00:32 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I’ve always felt South African teams have been singled out for special attention by referees and I don’t think this year is any exception.

    Yeah and the other nations think we are doing the same to them. LIVE WITH IT!!!!!!!!!! It part and parcel of having neutral referees. 👿

  • Comment 18, posted at 22.04.08 15:00:55 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Sheez i miised that bit Rob. Thanks

  • Comment 19, posted at 22.04.08 15:02:34 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Murray Staats?

    Murray Staats his career with a kak article?

  • Comment 20, posted at 22.04.08 15:03:53 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • 👿 I have no problem with opinion pieces but get your facts straight and at least try and be levelheaded with your points.

  • Comment 21, posted at 22.04.08 15:05:27 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • he wasn’t joking, KSA… if Ryan hadn’t apologised there and then I reckon Lawrence would have red carded him

  • Comment 22, posted at 22.04.08 15:06:53 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Rob could you find anything regarding my e-mail? A webaddy or link where I can check it out?

  • Comment 23, posted at 22.04.08 15:07:11 by Reds Reply

  • Still looking, Reds. There’s hardly any info out there about anyone who played in that era.

  • Comment 24, posted at 22.04.08 15:17:44 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Thought that much. You should see that guy play. he is fricking 52 but tsackle like some 20 year olds can’t. 😈

  • Comment 25, posted at 22.04.08 15:19:55 by Reds Reply

  • Tsackle = tackle.

  • Comment 26, posted at 22.04.08 15:20:26 by Reds Reply

  • Some guy on Keo who posts as “Fern” claims to know him.

    Reds, it would be fantastic to interview this guy.

  • Comment 27, posted at 22.04.08 15:22:09 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I should actually look if I have any info in the Team of the 90′ and then can scan and send it.

  • Comment 28, posted at 22.04.08 15:23:52 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Rob he stays in Utrecht. some 30 km from Newcastle. His eldest son also plays for our club but this ou toppie is at every practice and as I mentioned in my e-mail he played two second halve matches (super subs) Prop nogal. Even thouhg it is for our Clubs 4th team it is still gr8 to see him play.

  • Comment 29, posted at 22.04.08 15:30:40 by Reds Reply

  • “Sharks need to study refs’”
    Sharks would be better off bribing refs.

  • Comment 30, posted at 22.04.08 16:10:59 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Utrecht near the stunning Pivan river,

  • Comment 31, posted at 22.04.08 16:29:41 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle

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