Cape Town - The CEOs of Australia's Super Rugby franchises have called for an inquiry into the standard of refereeing.
According to The Australian, the issue was raised at a meeting on Tuesday.
The report referred to statistics published by the Green and Gold Rugby website which claims over the past three years that South African referees awarded 159 more penalties to local teams in matches against overseas opposition.
"I do think as a collective group we should put some heat on SANZAAR about the ridiculous stats that have come out over the last 24 hours about hometown refereeing in South Africa," Melbourne Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said.
"There is too much at stake for all of us and it is hard enough to win on the road. In my view, the integrity of the competition is turning into a joke and SANZAAR will look the other way and won't deal with the issue. There should be an inquiry."
During a match between the Lions and Rebels at Ellis Park last year, South African referee Egon Seconds penalised the Rebels 20 times and the Lions only once in a game in which the hosts clawed their way back from 33-5 down to win 36-33.
Seconds also came under fire for an 11-2 penalty count in the Lions' 29-28 win over the Waratahs. The South African referee was stood down from this year's Super Rugby refereeing panel, but is still involved as an assistant referee.
Southern hemisphere governing body SANZAAR has disputed Green and Gold Rugby's statistics, but refrained from releasing its own.
- Compiled by Herman Mostert
Super Rugby ‘home town refs’ penalty awarded differential since 2017:— Green and Gold Rugby (@GAGR) February 16, 2020
New Zealand (-15)
South Africa (+159)
Yes, that’s right, +159 pic.twitter.com/DkIg8cTAvx