The big match has come and gone in many disappointing ways...

Written by Neil Jardine - September 17 2013


Kingsley Went
September 23 2013

A little belated , but a response to your match blog.

SA did not play well and yet even without their 2 big breekers, Bismark and Alberts, around whom the game plan is based, they held NZ to a fairly close score. They showed signs of rhythm late in the first half and it would not have surprised me if, even playing poorly, they could win such a game;

They are restricted to that type of plan because their error rate is unacceptably high for international level – Pienaar, Steyn, Du Plessis missing too many tackles; far too many high balls missed (were any caught ?) ; too many passes no-where near their ‘target’, poor off the ball support, few areas of genuine consistency week after week . I believe we do not have the handling skills necessary for today’s fast close quarter game and consequently adapt to our style of physical intimidation and broken play attack – which is great fun to watch when it works !! I wonder what happened to jakes ‘ hand / eye coordination’ specialist ??

I share your nausea at constant referrals and yet when one was needed it was not forthcoming. Why did he not check the ‘foul play’ as almost every other ref does even if he had a perfect view and precisely to avoid a hasty decision which at the best of times happens in a flash and could be mis-read ? ( Remember Habana being similarly wrongly penalised on a follow up later ?) Why did the TMO not intervene ? Why not the touch judge ? Hell , why not the tea lady ? I don’t think the ref has a choice but to refer even in the most obvious of examples just to avoid being exposed . Damned if you do , damned if you don’t.

The fault lies in the appointment system which allocates a given game / series to a country in rotation and that country appoints its chosen ref who could be No 30 in world rankings (if such existed). It is time the IRB adopted the SANZAR system of grading refs regardless of their country of origin and then appointing on merit as far as possible. Performance would determine ranking and movement up or down & would give the public a clear indication of the consequence of performance. As far back as my involvement in reffing the French have been a joke, choosing to ignore the laws or conventional interpretation and drift thru a game deciding which of the 2 in 10 offences they should blow. Foul play is either ignored or over-reacted to. Unfortunately they are aided and abetted by the IRB / Ref’s bodies who ignore so much law today that 80 % of application will not be found in the book – but that is another story.

It has to be a very capable, self confident man with great man management skills who refs today – if he missing one of those qualities he has a problem , two and he’s ‘dead’.

The grubber is definitely back and preferable to the interminable ‘bomb’ which is so haphazard , but until they sort out the so called rucks and prevent players spreading out to create a defensive wall, running is not a good option and can only be followed by yet another re-cycle.

The wind down protection of possession is greatly assisted by the side not in possession which does not compete for fear of a penalty.

Having been a long standing Pienaar fan I would be quite happy if Ulster refused to release him to the Boks. Vermaak – ok but still to prove at this level, but Fourie is back next time !

Nice to see a fly half who thinks about the game. Look forward to the next one. Have fun and best wishes.

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