Boks ready for Barnes 'idiosyncrasies'
WORLD CUP SPOTLIGHT: The Springboks are relishing the more balanced and composed refereeing of Englishman Wayne Barnes for their crunch encounter with Italy on Friday.
South Africa had to deal with the erratic nature of French referees in their first two matches – polemical Jerome Garcès in their tournament-opening 13-23 loss to New Zealand and somewhat less capricious Mathieu Raynal in their 57-3 demolition of a starstruck Namibia.
Springbok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot said the team enjoyed the more even-handed approach of Barnes – with whom they have won 10 of the 13 Tests he was in charge of.
That is in stark contrast of the barely 10 percent winning margin they have when Garcès is the referee.
“We’ve got a good record with him [Barnes], because he is a very good referee,” Proudfoot said.
“He makes good decisions and he is a great communicator.
“He is a very sharp referee.”
Proudfoot admitted that every referee has their own ‘idiosyncrasies’, but Barnes is easier to adapt to because he is more consistent.
“We can accept that, as long as it is consistent for both sides. The players can adapt to that very quickly.
“When you have a referee like that you can have a good record with him.”
Proudfoot said that all teams prepared with the particular match referee in mind.
“He [the referee] is the CEO, he is the boss so we’ve got to meet what he wants in the game,” he said.
“The ref at the weekend [Raynal] had a particular picture and said: ‘This is what I want’, and the minute he communicated that to us and gave us a specific guideline and we adapted, everything was great.
“The penalties we conceded weren’t because of his interpretations, they were because of stupid penalties for ill-discipline, being offside or not releasing. It wasn’t his communication, it was us getting it wrong.
“Nothing is left to chance in this team. We have got specific plans – there is so much going on behind the scenes. We will have a specific plan with how we deal with Wayne and how we communicate with him and what he is looking for.
“Those are the specifics that we put around the team and how we approach him and get his information through to us.