It’s been a school rugby weekend past of home based refereeing coming under the spotlight in high profile matches, so much so that the visiting support base seem convinced that it affected the results.
With match broadcasting now the norm, perhaps the next step is the employment of technology and personnel that make TMO’s part and parcel of the main match setup. You may frown at this but ask yourself what part of schoolboy rugby has not been touched in some way or another by the senior game thus far. Some might allow their minds to wonder to the TMO decision in the dying minutes of the Varsity Cup final.
South Africa has a rugby culture of blaming referees – pointing out every little problem. There isn’t much love or support for the man in the middle in general even when they do a good job. The plethora of mistakes that a supporter’s team makes during a match are often quickly forgotten over a course of a few days, weeks at the max, while one mistake made by the ref has the potential to be committed to memory for life.
Ideally what’s need are more people to channel their energy by contributing towards the solutions. If things are to improve, the latter is where the emphasis has to be placed.
Think, when Jaco Peyper finally hangs up his boots, will this be the first time in a few decades that SA is without a referee who rates as one of the best in the world? Maybe the challenges facing the system are bigger than anyone imagines.
Working hand-in-hand to make it about the rugby
The season ending derby of the two best performing farm schools in schoolboy rugby, probably anywhere in the world, involves a unique referee selecting relationship for a number of years.
Boland Landbou and Oakdale may be rivals on the field but they enjoy a spirit of comradery off it.
The host school, being Boland Landbou this year, will give Oakdale three names of WP referees and Oakdale must select one from the three. When Boland Landbou travels from outside Paarl to Riversdale in 2023, the two schools will reciprocate the referee nomination and selection process.
Maybe something for others to consider?