You're kidding right? That's rugby. Its a game and a great game but it it isn't Gridiron nfl where everything is measured by numbers and pixels. Every call in rugby is judgement, based on the flow of the game and materiality (an assessment of how does x 'offence' affect the game) and the referee's own character is important. It was true in 1870 and its true today. What Rassie did is start this type of horrifying debate where referees are expected to be minutely detailed and to distrust their instinct. It might be a lot of money but rugby will never stop being a players game and good sport. And Willie Le Roux was offside infront of Mapimpe and can't be played onside if he's still sprinting forward. He had an unfair advantage in the sprint chase before Mapimpe kicked it. That is law and I'm sick of explaining it.I will try to address the issue from a different angle. Forget Lions vs RSA for a minute, or at least try.
We have a former player, from a tier 1 nation, coach, world cup winner, that looks at a game his team was involved in and does not understand either how the ref is calling the shots or the rules themselves.
And it's not 1 or 2 plays. It's a LOT of the calls. He is not alone and watching how we argue about plays in any thread here is another perfect example.
Just think for a second about this: this guy breaths rugby and cannot explain ~30% of the calls in the most important rugby game of the year. That is a pretty big red flag. Imagine, just picture it for a second, how that impacts the people you want to attract to the sport.
And it's not that the ref made a mistake and we know what the right call should have been. We don't know that either.
This is an issue and an issue that has been dodged for a long time. The elegant excuse is generally something along the lines of 'ref's do not need more pressure'. Fine. bloody fine. Then WR needs to step the **** in and address the issue. Refs need more resources? Better training, more people, twice the pay? (None of that would move the needle at tier 1 btw) Sure, all in, where do I sign?
As long as that comes with no more silly excuses and accountability. I want to know, without much doubt, what the ref should be calling when i watch a play.
As much as you might dislike his methods and particularly his timing, i can't help but to appreciate what RE is doing. I really do. Why? Because a) i think it is very important, b) no one else apparently has the balls to do it and c) he is using his position to make it an issue that has to be at the very least heard.
Let me rephrase: i don't care what the impact is for the tour. I care what the impact is for rugby. I wish, i sincerely wish, every coach would do the same till WR deals with this.
Again, world cup winning coach saying, out loud, 'i do not understand the rules'. Not 'i disagree with the ref here' or 'i saw something different. Again: 'i do not understand how the rules are being enforced'. That is quite a statement.
I for one am very, very happy about this.