Revamp rugby lawbook - NZ ref
July 16, 2013, 14:27:23
Revamp rugby lawbook - NZ ref
Top New Zealand referee Chris Pollock has called on the lawmakers in the game to “clean up the rule book” so as to take pressure off referees and ensure a more free-flowing and understandable game.
Pollock’s comments, which were published in the New Zealand Herald hours before Sanzar referees boss Lyndon Bray confirmed he was stood down from the list of names for the playoff rounds, are a plea from a top ref for lawmakers to once again look at the game’s rules.
It is the first time a referee has asked for the lawbook to be cleaned up, and also shows a different side of the story, whereas players and coaches are usually in the spotlight for their comments on referees.
"You are damned if you do and damned if you don't and the bottom line is if our law book was tidied up and simpler it would make everyone's life easier,” Pollock said after coming under fire for red-carding Kane Barrett during the Blues-Chiefs game on the weekend, a decision that robbed the game of being a spectacle.
"We cop it because we have to enforce the lawbook but it does not mean we enjoy that."
Pollock said his game wasn’t at its best in recent weeks, and he came under fire in the first test match between Australia and the British and Irish Lions for his decisions.
"I don't think I have been refereering overly well in the last few weeks, last night will probably cost me a playoff game," Pollock said. "You have a gut feeling when you walk off if you got the majority decisions right or wrong but it was not a performance that was my kind of performance.
"You are like a player. You go through patches when you are in form and battling for form and when that's happening you need a bit of luck and sometimes that's not with you.
"On another day when you have luck, he [Kane Barrett] does not make contact with the head or the yellow card, those things, flashpoints do not happen."
After calling for the big-screen review Pollock sent the Blues blindside flanker from the field.
"We are under a pretty strict edict by the IRB that boots on head are an automatic red card," the referee said.
"So watching the big screen I felt that No 6, his boot came into contact with Craig Clarke's head. It is not for me to judge intent, it is for me to judge fact so that's pretty much what we ruled on."
A bit later, Bray told New Zealand television OneSport that Pollock was dropped from the five referees chosen for the playoff rounds of Vodacom Super Rugby and that the incident in the Blues game contributed to that.
"Yes, it did, and Chris is part of five referees that we considered for the finals and will continue to consider," Bray told ONE Sport today.
"Chris has missed out but it's not just Saturday night, but that obviously has a significant part to play in the decision, but I think Chris has had a pretty tough month.
"The form is one aspect to it, as we look at current form and obviously confidence levels, what sort of form you're carrying into big match rugby, like finals.
"And secondly we do also consider the experience, (and) track record of a referee, just as you would with a player in that context.
"We took all of that into account in determining where does he sit against the other four."
"The best thing for Chris is to get over the last month. He had the big Lions experience of course, (going) into this particular game (Blues v Chiefs)," Bray said.
"The job now for us and for Chris is to get him back into a really good space and back into really good form for the rest of this season."
On the drama surrounding Pollock's decision to issue a red card on Saturday night, Bray was remaining tight-lipped.
"Chris ruled on his factual evidence which I think he did entirely appropriately from a referee perspective. The rest of that now has to go to judicial and we can't afford to prejudice that process at all by discussing any of that incident," he said.
"Simple reality, of course Chris could handle any of the matches in the finals series, that in itself is not an issue.
"But we have five quality referees, four of whom we have considered would get ahead of him on the basis of form and performance in recent weeks."
Jaco Peyper will oversee the Crusaders' semifinal qualifier against the Reds on Saturday night, while Kiwi Glen Jackson will have the whistle for the Brumbies' semifinal qualifier against the Cheetahs on Sunday.