Cape Town - SANZAAR, the southern hemisphere's rugby governing body, has responded to criticism from Australia over the standard of Super Rugby refereeing.
Last week, the CEOs of Australia's Super Rugby franchises called for an inquiry into the standard of refereeing, especially those from South Africa.
They were responding 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.
Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson went as far as saying the integrity of the competition was "turning into a joke".
On Wednesday, the Australian website followed up its original research with an open letter addressed directly SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos, again calling on him to respond.
Speaking at a bushfire fundraiser in Sydney on Wednesday, Marinos said the statistics "need to be validated".
"It's very interesting that the whole neutrality (issue) comes up, when we've been on a meritocracy basis for the last 10 or 12 years, so I find that quite interesting at this point in time. I think you've got to take a lens to where it's coming from," Marinos said, as quoted by the ESPN website.
The SANZAAR boss continued: "People are always producing statistics, but we will at the right time communicate our view on where we are from a competition perspective and the performances of our referees. I just don't understand where, all of sudden, after 10 years of meritocracy, suddenly now neutrality becomes an issue because a team, or teams, are suddenly are now feeling aggrieved by processes.
"I think what we need to do, is we need to validate those numbers, we need to put a proper picture in place, which is something we'll do and we'll be responding in due course on that."
- 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