- The Stormers and Bulls will contest the 2021/22 United Rugby Championship in Cape Town on Saturday.
- A topical point throughout the season has been the varying degrees of refereeing.
- Stormers head coach John Dobson said the players will strive to make it a pleasant game which won't hinge on a referee's call.
Stormers head coach John Dobson said he is satisfied with the match officials for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship final against the Bulls on Saturday.
It will be a North/South derby final in an inaugural URC season that has been as much about the South African teams struggling early on as it has about the standard of officiating.
The spotlight on referees throughout the URC season has often grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Commentators and pundits alike have observed that so-called 'home advantage' has gone a long way for some teams. If not that, then it has been a question of consistency in standards.
The discontent felt by rugby fans seemed to reach fever pitch last week during the semi-finals. The Bulls in Dublin often looked like they had one hand tied behind their backs by referee Andrea Piard as they mounted a famous win.
In Cape Town, the full house of supporters made their unhappiness known when referee Mike Adamson was booed several times for some of his unsatisfactory calls.
Ireland-affiliated Andrew Brace will blow this weekend’s game, assisted by a full house of South Africans (Jaco Peyper and AJ Jacobs as assistant referees and Marius van der Westhuizen as the television match official).
"We want to produce a better game in terms of our behaviour on the field," Dobson said, commenting on the match official point.
"It wasn’t tidy for rugby – both sides. It wasn’t pretty or edifying with hands going up... We want to make it more pleasant. I don’t think we helped our relations with the referee," Dobson said.
Saturday’s encounter isn’t the first time the Stormers get Brace to blow a game. He was the man in the middle when the Stormers lost to Munster 34-18 in October.
"We’ve had Andrew Brace before when we played Munster, and we had one or two issues… and that was when every South African team on tour had issued," he commented.
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He said when Brace then returned to take charge of the Stormers-Glasgow game, Dobson roped him into training in the week leading to the match to get better insight.
"We worked hard with him in the week and we were pretty happy with his performance."
As far as match officials are concerned for the final, Dobson said, "we couldn’t have asked for better".
Kickoff on Saturday is at 19:30.