Tired of being PC about ref’s

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, Tri Nations on 21 Jul 2010 at 11:01
Tagged with : , , , ,

The line between calling something as you see it and whining seems to be very fine, so call me a whiner if you like, but I am getting tired of being politically correct when criticising referees.

In a way I do not really care because just reading some comments from our mates down in the land of the long white, it cannot really be whining if they actually feel the same way and they ended up on the winning side!

Also, whining would constitute that I have a problem because the team I support lost and this is not the case at all. There is only one loser here and that is the game of rugby union itself.

I guess I do not have to go into much detail for you to understand where I come from and since the Tri-Nations kicked off with the two tests between the All Blacks and Springboks referee indiscretions dominated most of the conversations and debate on just about every news website or blog.

So let me tell you what I am growing sick of.

I am growing sick of not being able to call something as I see it because of the backlash it will invoke and the perceptions it will create that I am only looking for excuses or an easy escape.

To our Kiwi and Australian friends you might think I am going overboard with that statement but I think it is fair to say that the current political climate in South Africa and given our political past a culture of apologists has been created where you have to be very careful on how you comment on something or be very politically correct for fear of being labelled.

So what are my issues with referees?

Well quite simply I am getting tired of excuses being made for them where their indiscretions or faults are protected by the stigma that you cannot bitch about it without being called a whiner or having sour grapes when it is actually quite clear for everyone to see that it is a massive problem!

The game of union is based on a very simple principle.

It is a contest between two opposing teams governed by laws to make it fair on each team and officiated by individuals to ensure these laws are followed and a winner is crowned after a fair contest.

And quite simply, if anyone can call what we saw in the two recent tests between two of the fiercest and oldest rivals in rugby union a fair contest then you can kiss my beee-hind!

Hell forget the fact that it was between these two teams because it could have been between any two teams, at any level, the point is the game of rugby is robbed of what it is intended to provide, and in the end, forgetting the scoreboard there is only one loser – rugby itself.

Personally having defended referees in the 5 years I have engaged in online debates on various forums (yes I actually choose their side almost every time) the most common excuse you come across in justifying their shortcomings was that they are, simply human…

Now here is what I do not have a problem with.

I have no problem with the fact that referees from time to time will make errors because they are only human, like you and me.

I have no problem with referees being influenced by perceptions in the game of union because every single one of us are influenced in our professional environments every single day and that has an effect on how we perceive things and generally base decisions on.

I have no problem even with referees having a off day, as all of us do from time to time.

But what I do have a problem with is the scope of human error afforded to them and used as a reason for their incompetence!

Let me explain this another way.

With anything in life where decisions are made it is accepted that there will be errors made. In some instances and in some environments the scope or room afforded for these errors are bigger than in other areas. For instance, the room for error for a cashier in giving you the correct change is much larger than the room for error afforded to a doctor or surgeon performing an operation.

If you then choose to become a doctor, or high court judge you accept that the room for error afforded to you is very small and you will then automatically pay a hell of a lot more attention to detail to what you do, and the decisions you make simply because of the consequences that comes with making the wrong decisions.

It is therefore logical for me to assume that by affording more room for error, where the consequences of making errors are not that high actually encourages those specific individuals to approach their environment or job in making decisions, to be slack, or less aware or attentive to what they actually do because they have more room for error.

In its history of well over 100 years rugby union is littered of stories on how some referee screwed some team out of a win and it makes for great conversation around a braai, but it is also about time we have to accept that the game of union is not an amateur sport anymore, the consequences of actions in the game of union today are much more far-reaching than it was in the amateur days and therefore, the room for error also has to be cut down from where it was yesterday, to where it should be today.

In an environment where the pressures of the game in losing a match, in which the decision making of the referee did play a part, necessitates a team to make 8 unforced changes it is then quite easy to see the direct influence and consequence this has on individuals in the game where the livelihood is directly affected.

Take it to another level, in an environment where two losses, influenced in some way by poor refereeing or inconsistent refereeing invoke responses in the media or from individuals to have coaches fired, or players to be dropped and never selected again, it is clear to see just how important it is that we change the room for error currently afforded for referees.

So call me a whiner, I don’t care.

But I will end with this, anyone that denies the influence of the referee and what it had specifically in the last two tests is a fool. Anyone who believes it is the reason the one team lost, is an absolute tool.

What it has done, is make the game of union poorer for the fact.


  • One of your best posts ever Morne,and that is saying alot

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.07.10 11:09:50 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • Stop whining Morne 😈

    Nah i tend to agree. I wish refs would just realize how they officiate really makes for a spectacle or a travesty.

    And i am sick of my entertainment being ruined by a little tosser with a bit of metal in his mouth.

    Refs should be accountable. Simple.

    But then so should the players and the coaches.

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.07.10 11:11:20 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 1) : 😆

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.07.10 11:11:42 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • Good article Morne . . . but I was I little bit disappointed when I saw it wasn`t about Blou Bull Jonker 😉

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.07.10 11:17:04 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • as i have being saying for ages, if the laws in rugby are too difficult for referees to officiate then they must adjust them to make sure the game doesn’t suffer. the laws must be clear and there mustn’t be any room for interpretation. we all saw what damage poor refereeing did to the fwc. and we all had to listen to the kiwis bleat about the michelak forward pass in 2007.

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.07.10 11:27:05 by try time Reply

  • @Original Pierre (Comment 4) : Doesn’t Marius Jonker come from KZN?

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.07.10 12:01:57 by Baldrick Reply

  • @try time (Comment 5) : Imagine a line-out like soccer, where everyone mills around and you throw the ball to the dude who seems to be the safest bet? That would cut out about 10 minutes of wasteful time for each game. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t need specialist locks anymore!

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.07.10 12:36:44 by Baldrick Reply

  • and if a player knocks the ball on he or a team mate must not touch the ball until an opposition player touches it. this will save another ten minutes that are wasted while scrums get reset time after time. for example how many times do games get stopped because a player knocks on then the opposition collect and knock on and ref blows and comes back for the original knock on. the game should just be left to play.

  • Comment 8, posted at 21.07.10 12:45:51 by try time Reply

  • also forward passes and off sides need to be handed to the assistant referees to monitor to allow the ref to focus on the rest of the laws. when last did you see a touch judge call a forward pass or offside and they are in a far better position to see these.

  • Comment 9, posted at 21.07.10 12:50:00 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 9) : Or crooked lineout?

  • Comment 10, posted at 21.07.10 12:53:47 by Baldrick Reply

  • @try time (Comment 8) : actually how often does a knock on benefit the team that knocked the ball on. so why waste time with a scrum when the team has already been penalised because the knock on has allowed the opposition time to close in and stifle the attack.

  • Comment 11, posted at 21.07.10 13:04:41 by try time Reply

  • @Baldrick (Comment 10) : exactly, the assistent refs get paid yet actually do very little to justify their fee. it is time they played more part in the game.

  • Comment 12, posted at 21.07.10 13:06:15 by try time Reply

  • morne, lets use the sharks as a prime example of how referees robbed them of revenue. in this years s14 the sharks lost their first 5 games. 4 of those games could have been different had the referees made the right decisions. pro, paul banks and keith brown put the sharks out of the s14 before it even began. this meant less fans attended games, the sharks never got semi or final revenue etc. so i agree referees need to work out ways to improve their performances.

  • Comment 13, posted at 21.07.10 13:31:12 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 13) : sorry marks not banks.

  • Comment 14, posted at 21.07.10 13:37:41 by try time Reply

  • @Baldrick (Comment 6) : I`m sure the Crusers think he lives with Big Vic . . . and who can blame them?

  • Comment 15, posted at 21.07.10 13:45:52 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • The Sharks vs Bulls ref. Is it Jason Jaftha ? had a good game and I’ve watched him against GWK in Vodacom cup as well. He is such a small chap but is firm with decisions and it appears that he has the respect of the players. I’d like to see him ref more Sharks games.

  • Comment 16, posted at 21.07.10 13:47:24 by Ernie Reply

  • @Ernie (Comment 16) : 😉

  • Comment 17, posted at 21.07.10 14:19:21 by Charlie Reply

  • I wish i could speed-read these articles…

  • Comment 18, posted at 21.07.10 14:50:13 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • Well that is a good and longgggggggggggggg gee if it was not so interesting i wouldn’t hv read it 😉 great
    but the rules are there to abide with them and make it all easy in the end so my point is refs s times don’t play fare at all it keeps the cup away from the team that really played hard for it just to get even or just plain 👿 so his team can win
    bad judgment in the old end RULES and the REFS are there for a reason plain and simple 😆

  • Comment 19, posted at 21.07.10 14:53:08 by chaz Reply

  • @try time (Comment 9) : I agree…why call them Ass.Refs. when they still act like “linesman”. I feel they should get involved in the game, just like scoccer linesman.

  • Comment 20, posted at 21.07.10 16:57:16 by Me2 aka Mama Shark Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @Me2 aka Mama Shark (Comment 20) : and some hair gel like in soccer 😆

  • Comment 21, posted at 21.07.10 16:59:47 by rekinek (Go Klose!) Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • i nearly broke my tv on saturday because of alain rolland! Instead the leather couch took a beating. Sepp Blatter apologised to the English & Mexican fans and players 2 days after the wrong decisions were made by the referees and promised to open up the debates on goalline technology! In comparison, new zealand never got a peep out of the irb after they were knocked out of rwc ’07 due to wayne barnes’ incompetence, they were just told to get over it and we all laughed and made jokes about them being chokers.

    Now the shoe is on the other foot and we now say we’re
    “tired of being pc” 🙄

    which other sport in the world has as many annual rule changes as rugby? Tennis, football, hockey all somehow have kept to the same rules but rugby every year some smartarse has to tinker with the rules 😡

  • Comment 22, posted at 21.07.10 19:50:32 by Megatron Reply

  • Great arti, first time ive read one of yours from start to finish!

  • Comment 23, posted at 21.07.10 20:05:14 by Rahul Reply

  • @Rahul (Comment 23) :


    Long time!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment 24, posted at 21.07.10 20:13:48 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 24) : like on holidayyyyyyyyyyyy like u me friend 😉

  • Comment 25, posted at 21.07.10 21:24:23 by chaz Reply

  • Howzit! Did you like the states? Bet the girls loved disney! All 3 of them…

  • Comment 26, posted at 21.07.10 21:32:35 by Rahul Reply


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