One-eyed ref should hang head in shame

2011-06-28 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The shocking performance by the New Zealand referee in Saturday’s Super Rugby playoff match between the Crusaders and Sharks has once again raised the question of whether neutral referees should be considered for such fixtures.

Bryce Lawrence mercilessly penalised the Sharks in the first half in particular, and saw the 50-50 decisions through red-tinted glasses as he ruled in favour of the Crusaders.

However, it was the decision at a scrum — with the two packs not even having made contact before the Sharks were penalised for “dangerous play” — that was ridiculous.

Not far behind was the penalty awarded to the Crusaders when Sonny Bill Williams, in a performance worthy of an Oscar, fell down as if he had been struck by a baseball bat.

It happened after JP Pietersen simply stood his ground and Williams ran into him after a chip kick.

Lawrence immediately penalised the Sharks and Dan Carter added three points.

Like a naughty schoolboy that got away with a misdeed, Williams looked happy with himself for suckering Lawrence.

If the one-eyed referee happens to view a video of his performance, he should hang his head in shame.

The reason for the Sharks’ defeat cannot just be put down to Lawrence, but their confidence certainly suffered as a result of the increasing uncertainty about what they may and may not do.

There was also an incident where he ruled that Charl McLeod had knocked the ball on at a ruck, which was not the case.

In the move prior to Williams’s try, the Crusaders should have been penalised for off-side at a line­out, but that never happened.


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