O’Neill’s parting shot at rugby’s refs
Referee Craig Joubert (left) shows the yellow card to Rebels' Gareth Delve. AAP Image/Lukas Coch
John O’Neill is shortly to leave the ARU and as a parting shot, he had a dig at referees.
Fox Sports quotes him as saying:
“It is one of my pet peeves that referees do not see themselves as part of the game.
“They have to see themselves as part of the entertainment package, and they have to understand who they work for.”
Nearly all refs are ex-players. Having enjoyed the game, they do not want to leave it when age or injuries creep up on them. Alain Rolland, for example, played Test rugby. Of course refs see themselves as part of the game. They always have been.
It is not a question of being part of an entertainment package. If administrators, like O’Neill, around the world can’t organise laws which are easy to apply, don’t blame a lack of entertainment (and I don’t accept for a moment the game is not entertaining) on the refs.
Remember this – a game is never full of penalties, it is full of infringements. That is not the refs’ fault, in the main. It is the fault of the laws, which provide for so many possible infringements.
Lastly, refs have no need whatsoever to understand for whom they work. Refs are first and foremost independent. They are there to apply the laws consistently and fairly.
With one eye on the ARU, another on the game at hand and yet another on the laws, a ref is sure to make a fool of both himself and his employer.
What has always been one of my pet peeves is rugby administrators, who have never reffed a game in their lives at any decent level, becoming self-appointed referee assessors.
The last thing our game needs is a control freak like O’Neill telling refs what to do.
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