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  1. I thought the rules are that the rugby ball should be put in STRAIGHT at the scrum and you don’t need a tmo to see that this isn’t being adhered to in the world cup games so why isn’t this being picked up by the ref.???

    • The problem with this area is that is what most TV av viewers are watching. But the referee has 18 players to watch and observe plus the rest of the backs in his eyesight. No one has ever been hurt by the ball coming in, but sadly people have had life changing injuries caused by other scrum factors which naturally is what the officials are looking at. But we at do understand the frustration of spectators and TV viewers.

      • I attended the Waratahs V the (NZ) Hurricanes last night. We found ourselves sitting straight in front of (my ex Wallaby international colleague) Bruce Taafe. Bruce and I were equally put off by a number of seemingly inexplicable decisions by Chris Pollock, who, my research confirms, was one of the four NZ referees respectively to ref this weekend’s matches of the Waratah’s, the Rebels, the Brumbies and the Reds. I don’t know whether Kearns etc (of the Fox team) brought this up in commentary but the crowd around us was white-hot incensed. There seemed to be marked inconsistencies in Pollock’s decisions – particularly with respect to head-high tackles and deliberate headlocks (why the difference?); and an insouciance with respect to Perinara’s scrum intros and, even more, with respect to policing the advantage line at crucial moments in the Hurricane’s defence. Some of these decisions or lack thereof – whether correct or incorrect – almost certainly turned the game.

        This raises a wider question of the policy on referee appointments on which I have been contemplating a letter, to Lyndon Bray (the person in charge of refs at SNAZAAR (sic) and who is no stranger to ostensibly controversial policies questioned by a number of rugby internationals. The main point is not whether Pollock was unconsciously biased in some of his decision making – indeed there may be a cogent explanation of every one of the decisions that transformed the SCG members around me into an angry lynch-mob. Much less is it a question of whether any of the referees of the same nationality as one of the Super 18 teams they are appointed to ref, have demonstrated bias. No; the issue is that, by appointing referees of the same nationality as one of the teams, the question of bias is constantly waiting in the wings – ready to enter into the minds of one side in the crowd – on every controversial decision. This suspicion festers and accumulates over the seasons and contributes to considerable disrespect – the term may be light — for the “perpetual” holders of positions in world rugby.

        I am hugely surprised that the people who make policy decisions about referee appointments – or, if it comes to that, those who take regrettable decisions (after succumbing to media pressure) like that setting up a virtual public inquiry concerning Craig Joubert’s decision in the Aust V Scotland RWC test match – are so under-informed that they have clearly never considered the fundamental maxim of the administration of justice – known far more widely then just by lawyers – that Justice Must Not Only Be Done But Manifestly Appear To Be Done.

        Every person, with even slight knowledge of the requirements of fairness in judging, understands how much potential damage is done when this maxim is not respected. In the case of the Super 18 referee appointments, the policy is also ostensibly incoherent. Over this weekend four NZ referees were appointed for games involving Australia but the two Australian referees in action were shunted off to ……Argentina and South Africa (Angus Gardner for the Highlanders V the Jaguares in Arg. And Stuart Berry for the Sharks Cheetahs game in Durban – an ALL SOUTH AFRICAN AFFAIR!).

        If SANZAAR – or Lyndon Bray – would never contemplate appointing a ref of the same nationality as one of the teams in, say, the Super 18 Final (or probably even in the play-offs) how can they – he – justify such a decision in any Super 18 match on any ordinary weekend? Because one match in , say, March, can determine whether a team is there for the play-offs. As regards the Scottish decision, I will pass over most of that, except to say that the panel of inquiry – presumably appointed under Bray (as I believe he was in charge of refereeing during the RWC) – included Robbie Deans, an appointment which, once again fails to conform to the above–quoted maxim – as any law judge would have told World Rugby (Deans could be – or be seen to be – either unduly “for” or unduly ”against” Australia). Indeed Robbie might well have done better to recuse himself, had he been educated on this maxim.

        In saying all this, I am aware that there has been a perceived paucity of international standard referees in Australia; but that was in 2009. If SNAZAR is consciously proceeding slowly to rectify this situation – over seven years ! ! – then let us see their aims clearly stated, along with a fully logical explanation as to how this un-realised aim dictated this weekend’s decision to choose four NZ referees for games involving Australian teams where two Australian referees were used in other countries. Is SNAZER implying that the two Australian refs are competent but only enough to referee non-Australian games? There is a very strong argument that this issue is of such fundamental importance to the preservation, by all possible means, of the Super 18 “product” that Rugby is selling to the world, that SNAZAR itself should have involved itself more fully into what it may argue is an Australian issue (which it is not). SNAZAR should be able to show that it has put sufficient finance and resources into fixing any problem that may have existed in well under seven years

        Can anyone offer anything that will restore a fig-leaf of respect for any part of these policies?

        Anthony Abrahams
        (Wallabies 1967,68, 69)

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