How to improve Super Rugby refereeing
There has been much public debate about the recent referee howlers by Jaco Peyper (Waratahs v Reds) and Marius Jonker (Brumbies v Bulls). Referee boss Lyndon Bray has publicly called these howlers into question.
But what has that achieved? Nothing.
Both teams missed out on deserved points and the Australian Conference is being criticised for its below par performance when compared to the other Conferences.
With the comprehensive amount of technology now covering each game, it is time to look at how this technology can be used to provide a solution to eliminate these howlers.
Cricket has been able to successfully address this issue with the teams being able to query umpiring decisions to the third umpire for review and the possibility of a decision reversal.
Each captain has two referrals for each innings. The referrals are lost when the umpire’s decision is proven to be correct. Could this not also work for Super Rugby?
Super Rugby could do something similar by providing captains with one referee decision referral each game. The referral would be limited to the scoring/not scoring of a try.
The tricky part is to determine what can be challenged and how many phases can be reviewed.
As a suggestion the referral would be restricted only to the phase leading to the try being scored/not scored using the following guidelines:
Firstly, whether the try has been correctly scored (i.e. where a referee misses a blatant knock in the scoring of a try).
Secondly, where a technical foul has been overlooked (for example Jonker’s howler in the Bulls v Brumbies) and finally where an incorrect decision has been made in not awarding a try (see Peyper’s howler in the Waratahs v Reds match).
Feedback is that cricket umpires are happy working with the referral system as it now takes the dismissal decisions to a point close to 99 percent accuracy and has eliminated umpire howlers from the game.
Is it not time that Super Rugby took steps to eliminate refereeing howlers and introduce a try/no try referral system?
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