Referees to face media spotlight
February 10, 2010
New Zealand referee Steve Walsh is set to return to the Super 14 stage this season © Getty Images
For the first time, referees will be made publicly accountable for their decisions in the immediate wake of Super 14 matches this season.
Officials will be available for media questioning of their performance in a move designed to make the game's whistle-blowers and their decisions more transparent.
New Zealand Rugby Union High Performance Referee Manager Lyndon Bray said there was a desire to take some of the mystery out of rugby's laws, while the referees themselves have agreed they would like to be publicly measured.
"They (referees) have probably always been slightly threatened in the past by the concept of facing up on TV after games," Bray told Radio Sport. "We've all acknowledged this is probably an important step. It brings us into line with the coaches and the players, who also have to do this."
Referees have been in the spotlight in the lead-up to this year's Super 14, announcing there will be an emphasis on enforcing breakdown interpretations more literally from the law book.
This, Bray said, should create a more flowing spectacle than the kick-dominated play of 2009. He said yellow cards could be produced earlier in games this year to deal with players unwilling to adjust their attittude.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside