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VIDEO: Independent and unemotional is how URC improves referees

The United Rugby Championship’s Head of Match Officials Tappe Henning says they have taken the ’emotion’ out of rating referees and developed a much better product.

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Henning reiterated a previous announcement that the new element to the competition – introducing an independent referee selectors panel – is paying dividends.

The URC Independent Referee Selectors Panel includes legendary former ref Nigel Owens (Wales), George Clancy (Ireland), Stuart Berry (South Africa) and Neil Paterson (Scotland).

The panel was appointed to review the performances of match officials in the competition, while they also have the responsibility of selecting an elite group of referees.

He said the panel’s work is two-fold – to measure performance so that “referees can be accountable” and to support and help referees “remedy” the shortcomings.

“We believe our competition [the URC] is very well aligned to the expectations of World Rugby,” Henning told a media round table on Tuesday.

His chat came in the build-up to the URC quarterfinals – which will display some elements of this new system this coming weekend.

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He says the new assessment system is “working well” and is being well received by referees.

* (Article continues below the Tappe Henning interview …)

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“The independence of that selection committee is hugely important,” Henning said.

“We are not becoming too emotional about performances and decisions.

“That was the main reason for bringing that selection panel into place.

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“We can [now] give a well-balanced review of every performance.”

* This weekend’s appointments

Friday, May 5

Ulster v Connacht
(Ravenhill Stadium, Belfast – Kick-off: 19.35; 18.35 GMT)

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

Saturday, May 6

Stormers v Bulls
(Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town – Kick-off: 15.30; 13.30 GMT)

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Leinster v Sharks
(Lansdowne Road, Dublin – Kick-off: 17.00; 18.00 SA time; 16.00 GMT)

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Hollie Davidson (Scotland)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

Glasgow Warriors v Munster
(Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow – Kick-off: 19.35; 18.35 GMT)

Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Adam Jones (Wales); Manuel Bottino (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)

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