Rugby needs black or white

Nope, not in the racial sense, but in the interpretation of the laws … Advantage is a wonderful part of rugby says Tank Lanning in his Sport24 column, but it does allow for a huge amount of personal interpretation, hence Victor Matfield’s disrespectful tirade. 

Oh for referee Rohan Hoffmann to have given the Sharks the same advantage that Craig Joubert gave the Stormers when Nic Groom was adjudged to have been tackled inside the 10m radius after taking a quick tap …

Or oh for Steve Walsh to have been refereeing that Cheetahs vs Sharks game instead of Hoffmann, because given the Sharks demolition of the Cheetahs scrum in those final minutes, and Walsh’s penchant for the penalty try, it is quite likely that the Sharks would have benefitted and hustled a last second draw …

Not that the men in black and white deserved anything more than they got in Bloemfontein, but on such small margins, and on such subjective interpretation of the laws, are seasons defined!

It’s the reason all coaches and captains should credit luck when trying to define any successes achieved. Especially in such a brutal and extended tournament such as this Super Rugby behemoth.

In a game that is already too stop-start, advantage is a wonderful part of rugby as it allows the game to flow, but like those pesky full arm penalties for scrum infringements that are based largely on guesswork, it does allow for a huge amount of personal interpretation.

Perhaps that is the charm of rugby, though?

Or is it merely another relic of the amateur old days in which referee errors were worthy of a chortle over the beer (or twelve) shared by both sides in the post-match function?

In the professional era that has seen rugby lose a lot of it’s charm given the dropping of traditions that make this game the great game that it is, or was (swoon), can the transfer of such huge amounts of cash be left to one person’s interpretation of the laws?

Given Victor Matfield’s brutally disrespectful tirade at Newlands on Saturday, where he basically accused Craig Joubert of missing a good game – an accusation normally reserved for the cheeky comments from the concrete stairs on the Danie Craven stand, and the banning of several coach’s for comments on the officiating, I think it is fair to assume that it is time for this subjectivity to be addressed.

TMO calls that adhered to the letter of the law, and made sense, would also help matters. It is actually flabbergasting to see the decisions being made by these people. How does a blatant knock on not become a knock on because it can only be seen in slow motion? Is that not the very reason we have the TMO?

Matfield was wrong, as were Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis earlier in the season, but perhaps it is worth addressing the reason for their frustration rather than punishing the symptoms?

One Comment

  1. Thank you Tank, a great article of what is wrong in this beautiful game. Keep up the good work!

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