VIDEO: The 63 minutes that were lost through captain's challenges
SPOTLIGHT: Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White said the captain’s challenge – on trial in the Rainbow Cup – is a necessary evil.
However, the system driving it is in desperate need of an overhaul.
White, speaking ahead of his team’s top-of-the-table crunch match against the Sharks in Pretoria on Saturday, revealed the stupefying amount of time lost due to referrals in the competition.
He suggested the process around the ‘captain’s challenge’ in the Rainbow Cup may need to be revisited.
“It [the captain’s challenge] is relatively new,” the Bulls boss said, adding that there is the potential for it to be manipulated and exploited as a ‘tactical weapon’.
“I think the reviews have not been properly thought out,” White told a virtual media briefing ahead of Saturday’s Loftus showdown.
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He revealed there is already plans afoot to walk back the process because of the time wasted in the past fortnight – both in South Africa and the Pro14 matches in Europe.
White revealed that there has been great feedback from SA Referees boss Mark Lawrence and the SA referees, who met with their Pro14 counterparts.
“The general feeling is that, unless they are 100 percent sure in real time they need to go back, we can’t have a situation where we go back and look at every single breakdown, to find whether or not there was something illegitimate,” the Bulls boss said.
“Common sense has prevailed in both our [SA] part of the tournament, but also in the Northern Hemisphere [Pro14].
“Our game [Bulls versus Stormers last week] took two hours, six minutes to finish.
“It shows the [huge] number of stoppages in the game.
“They [apparently] lost 63 minutes last weekend in Pro14 north and south [Rainbow Cup] matches for stoppages for referrals. That is an hour of non-activity.”
White said the system should not be scrapped, but just refined.
“We need to make the game safe,” he said, adding: “We still need to make sure we stamp out head injuries, because we want young boys to play and we want moms to allow their sons to play rugby.
“However, as we trial it and move forward, the referees realise if the angles are wrong or the cameras or not in the correct position, you open yourself for a massive amount of criticism.
“Inevitably you can get some calls wrong.
“However, the balance is important.”