One of the major talking points through the United Rugby Championship this season has been the perceived disparity in refereeing between Europe and South Africa.
It’s been on many a coach’s mind in post-match press conferences, while some decisions have sparked uproar in fan blocks.
A question of experience
URC referees’ manager Tappe Henning gave a media briefing on Tuesday, stressing how the project to harmonise refereeing standards and approaches would take time and participative action.
“The standard of officiating has always been talked about. The more experienced your referee is, the more acceptable their officiating becomes,” he explained to South Africa’s Independent.
“The technology is bringing spectators more into the game, and that’s good, but it brings referees under the microscope more. The information that’s available to the public now is so much more, and the individual in the pitch still only has two eyes.
“We are not trying to compete with it, we are trying to do better. That information is available to everyone, and that’s why referees are discussed so much.
“We look at the incident and discuss it, it’s a team effort – there’s a TMO, a referee and assistant referees. We don’t want to blame any one person.
“Do we come down hard on them? Yes, we do. But it’s remedial. We’re not going to fire referees for every mistake, because then halfway through the competition we would have no one left.
“We want to be accountable, but it’s a much longer-term process, we can’t just hire and fire.”
That process also includes a staunch – and laudable – refusal to hang referees who make mistakes out to dry, especially in terms of their overall performance. Individual mistakes are what they are, but Henning explained that overall referee performance is kept very private.
Still, as the inaugural competition approaches the final stage, Henning wanted to stress that referee neutrality would become a factor, even in regular-season games from next season.
“We are aiming for and looking at having the referee and TMO – not all four guys – be neutral. We have looked into the cost implications, we want to phase it in,” he said.
“It is our aim to have neutral officials (referee and TMO) for every game. For the play-offs, we will go full-on neutral.”
The article United Rugby Championship: Tappe Henning determined to close reffing gaps appeared first on Planetrugby.com.