Cape Town - Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger believes the quality of refereeing in Super Rugby is up to standard.
Mauger’s Highlanders beat the Bulls 29-28 in Pretoria last weekend after their flyhalf Limo Sopoaga slotted a last-gasp penalty.
However, a penalty awarded to the Highlanders a few minutes earlier became a big talking point after the game.
Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett criticised referee Glen Jackson’s decision to penalise Bulls prop Lizo Gqoboka for entering a ruck from the side.
Television replays of the incident near Highlanders' 22 late in the second half supported Mallett, who called the decision "a poor, critical one".
Mauger spoke exclusively to Sport24 this week and when probed on the matter, he played down the incident.
“I think Glen Jackson is a top referee and he has got to make those calls in the moment. There were probably a few calls during the match which went the way of the Bulls as well and that happens in every game. I don’t really see too much out of it (the incident) to be fair.”
The standard of refereeing in this year’s Super Rugby competition has been criticised in some quarters, but Mauger is satisfied with the referees on display.
“I thought Glen had a pretty good game and, looking around the competition, there are quality referees right across Super Rugby,” the former All Black centre said.
“As a team, we try to understand the trends the referees are showing through their performances, however, the focus is more on ourselves really. We try to ensure that we are on point with our own detail and the objective is to take the referees out of the equation as much as we can...”
The Highlanders tackle the Sharks in Durban this Saturday.
Kick-off is at 17:15.
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Patelesio Tomkinson, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki Seiuli
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Matt Faddes/Josh McKay