VIDEO: Kiwi ref 'happy' with high penalty count
SUPER RUGBY AOTEAROA: The high penalty count in the opening weekend of Super Rugby Aotearoa was expected.
The Highlanders conceded 16 penalties in their 28-27 win over the Chiefs, who coughed up 12 penalties.
The Blues also conceded 16 penalties in their 30-20 win over the Hurricanes, who were penalised 14 times.
That is 58 penalties in 160 minutes of rugby.
Speaking on Sky Sport’s The Breakdown, recently-retired referee Glen Jackson said it was for the ‘greater good’ of the game.
“First of all, I don’t think it was a surprise,” he told host Jeff Wilson.
“What they were told was going to happen, actually happened, so that’s good.
“For a refereeing team, they can quite often go out and feel the pressure that there are too many penalties and go off the ball a little bit, but they actually delivered what they were told to do, which is what coaches want.
“I think the best one is the offside penalty. The last round of Super Rugby before COVID, there were 12 penalties in six games for offside. We had 12 penalties in two games [on the weekend]. As a coach, you want space in the game.
“The biggest thing I ever hear as a referee is: ‘Why aren’t you reffing the offside line?’.
“So, there were some tight penalty calls, [but] you would rather see offside than these fast line speed [defences] that you’re seeing in the game now, just shutting down people’s opportunities, and I think that’s a really good positive.”
Former All Blacks wing John Kirwan agreed with Jackson’s sentiments that stricter officiating of the offside line can be regarded as a positive to take out of the weekend.
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However, the former Italy, Japan and Blues coach said there’s still not enough clarity for fans surrounding law interpretations made by referees of whom he believes are still under too much pressure.
“I thought the ref on Sunday [for the Blues vs Hurricanes match] was pedantic, it’s not his fault, and I don’t want to beat up on refs because I think they’re doing a great job,” Kirwan said.
“Bryce Lawrence [New Zealand Rugby referees manager] has told them to be really strong in the first week or so, so that the players understand, but I think there’s too much, still, on the referee.
“There’s a couple of things I’d like to change. I go down to the sideline, and there are people saying ‘What the bloody hell’s that for?’. People don’t know what the rule’s for.”
That led Kirwan to devise three ideas that could help make the game faster and easier to understand.
“Let’s say [there’s] still a lot of penalties after three weeks… after three penalties, of the same team, five-minute yellow card [should be handed out], because then players will stop pushing the law.
“30 seconds – like the basketball rule – when it’s a penalty, you kick for the touchline, you’ve got to throw the ball in within 30 seconds, so we’re speeding the game up.”
Source: RugbyPass & The Breakdown