Well said John Smit

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Nov 21, 2022, 19:12

Men's game needs ego check'

Smit, meanwhile, urged South Africa to concentrate on playing rather than obsessing with referees, and wants to see a "reset" across the board in how officials are treated.

"I honestly believe there should be a penalty for any player who thinks they can help the referee referee the game," he said.

"The referees have to get control back. Everyone seems to think they have an influence over what the referee should be doing. When I was captain, when anyone else spoke they were disrespecting me, and the referee.

"Refereeing rugby is incredibly difficult. What we want is consistency and respect, and I think when we start giving that back to the referee the pressure will be off them [and they will] have more consistent performances.

"I would like referees to get back in charge and not have to defend themselves the whole time. 

"Obviously we would all like referees to have perfect games every weekend. But I think it starts with the players. We have this very masculine, aggressive game in the men's game, and you watch the women's [World Cup] final and you don't see any of that going on.

"Maybe it is time for everyone across the board to do a little ego check, reset the clock, and get back to what made rugby great, which is being respectful."

Nov 21, 2022, 19:13

It's hard to defend him," Smit said.

The 2007 World Cup-winning captain told the Rugby Union Daily podcast: "The way he has approached this is not right.

"Are you telling me Rassie is the only coach frustrated by a call that has gone the wrong way? 

"Something has to be done. There has to be a line that has to be drawn, and he is making it difficult for his team. It's made us, as a rugby team, so easy to dislike."

Nov 21, 2022, 20:00

You can't argue with that...spot on.

Nov 21, 2022, 20:19

Yep, well said. 

Nov 21, 2022, 20:24

This has become a big problem across the sporting world, The "influencer" culture, whereby social media becomes a platform to create external pressure to attack a target. Erasmus is using social media to create that external pressure to bend the refs into making those 50/50 calls for his team. It's the mark of a poor coach and leader in my opinion. He has our players and many fans blaming the ref instead of taking a long, hard look at themselves. 

Nov 21, 2022, 20:25

It’s a good distraction. 

Nov 21, 2022, 21:25

I agree 100%, I don’t like John Smit, but he has a very good point. 

However, the refs have made a rod for their own back and to much coaching by the ref on the field, like, let go of the ball, you are off side, get back etc. 

Just the bloody game, tell players to shut up. Only speak to the captain etc. 

After all, the good refs will get the better games. 

They also need to sort out the laws and stoppages in the game ASAP. 

Ie, no hands in the ruck. Players have to ruck over the ball. This will add more numbers and there will be more space.

De weaponise the penalty and turn it into a free kick , 

Nov 21, 2022, 21:28

Smit is speaking shit, I fully support Rassie taking issue with the standard of officiating, it’s simply not good enough especially considering the technology they have at their disposal

These piss poor decisions are costing sides results

Boks against Ireland

All Blacks against England

Nov 21, 2022, 21:45

Saffex's response to the first thing he hears...

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Nov 21, 2022, 21:52

The Ref calls is not why we lost to Ireland,  its because we did not utilize our Chances and Ball Possession to the max....and Ireland was the better team on the day.....Good and Bad Ref calls is part of the game....so don't Cry Rassie just put more points on the Board, so the small percentage of Bad Calls don't make you loose the Game.

Nov 21, 2022, 21:54

And we haven’t been at the other side of this phenom yet… other coaches posting their own tapes. We either accept the decisions or lawyer the game to death. As it is these video calls, right or wrong suck the oxygen out of the game….nothing worse than a glorious try like the Iaone vs Pom effort, potentially called back because some technicality that never even affected the try was breached

Nov 21, 2022, 22:14

John Smit is correct concerning the way Rassie is going about it.

But Saffex is totaly correct in that referee decisions are havign far to much influence on the game.

And as we know well in advance - What he is trying to bring to everyones attention is:

Referee decisions will cost teams at the world cup and that is a major concern.

We just don't know in advance who is in turn to suffer.................

The system and game have become far to complicated.

Nov 21, 2022, 22:19

Erasmus should then keep his mouth shut, as we are the least penalised team in world rugby, and we are benefitting more so than our adversaries. But that's not the point, it's to depower the ref entire him. Manipulating him, to manipulate the result. 

Nov 21, 2022, 22:44

Bullshit Mpower we lost against Ireland thanks to a shocking double miss by the officials in the second try by Ireland

Irish boot kicking the ball through the ruck and a blatant forward pass to the reserve prop

We did not play particularly well and we had no recognised kicker but take that try out of the equation and that game was ours

If the other coaches don’t have the balls to highlight the officiating issues then that’s their problem

Good on Rassie for highlighting the issues that cost us games

With TMO’s policing there is absolutely no excuse for not getting 95% of the calls right

Nov 21, 2022, 22:48

I'd be cautious not to stoke the fire, considering that we would have 6 additional losses with "correct" calls. 

Nov 21, 2022, 23:04

With all of these new Rules, the refs have a tremendous amount of things they have to pay attention to at the same time....and Rugby is a Fast pace game....so these things are bound to happen....all I am saying is,  if the Boks can convert more of there Territorial advantage, Given + Created chances and Ball possession into points,  these marginal calls won't make a difference....build up a buffer....Rassie should learn how to use the right channels to tackle this issue....instead he is not there with his team....they should matter the most.

Nov 21, 2022, 23:40

What crap saying because there are new rules and the game is fast thst that somehow excuses the poor officiating

I can excuse a ref getting calls wrong but I can’t excuse the TMO and therein lies the issue

Nov 22, 2022, 07:23

Ironically he was part of the "blame Bryce Lawrance" crowd back after the 2011 RWC...but I suppose that was different...

Nov 22, 2022, 09:24

Oh that's interesting Draad, never knew that....so his moaning already started those days......wish he would just rather let it be and Focus on making us better all around...maybe this ban will make him think more and he will stay of Social media with this Ref and TMO analytics....better that way, no more ban and he can be with his chargers, where he is supposed to be.

Nov 22, 2022, 10:10

He's had some good ref calls in his tenure. Seems he's too big for SA rugby, just wades on. 

Nov 22, 2022, 12:19

So on one hand, I have to agree that there has been to many results decided by refs. The Aus v NZ game is a classic one. Although, Aus was playing for time, but really odd call given how many teams are guilty of running the clock down and taking the excitement out. 

How many dodgy calls have been made by TMOs as well as refs. How much time is being wasted by refs taking centre stage. But also that teams train according how refs would blow the game. Which speaks for itself that none of the refs are consistent in applying the laws. Some refs blow hard on the break down and even if a player is clearly trapped, others just let it go. So the ref needs to be take out of the equation. 

I also don’t buy into that rugby has many laws. It is a simply game, but only made technical through stupid laws. Ie the line out maul. A player is margins in front of the catcher and it is technical foul. A player falls over at ruck as they get push down by other players. 

Line out is slightly skew, turn over. I would almost say if it is slightly off with in 1 meter then play on, but only if the defending team don’t compete. Same can be set of the scrum. In the old days scrums were way quicker, trams would just stand apart, engage and the ball would come out. None of this putting the ball under the feet nonsense. Hookers had to hook the ball. 

Sort out the laws and sort out the refs. 

But for heaven sake, stop chirping the bloody ref no matter how shit they are

Nov 22, 2022, 12:31

Well for every test ref you remove from the scene because they're inconsistent, another even less experienced one takes their place. Where does this cycle end? Who'd want to be a ref with all the scrutiny and criticism they're getting?

I'd also rather have less TMO involvement than more, it slows the game down to a crawl taking 5 minutes to review some banal shit that's usually clear on the first replay and then still getting it wrong.

We won't see a Nigel Owens and his likes again. Live with it and focus on what you can control.

Nov 22, 2022, 13:09

It's easier said than done, Pakie.

An entire tournament or series can leave a bad taste in your mouth simply because of a bad call. 

How many finals do one's teams reach? How many times do the Lions tour?

Rugby is lagging far behind other sports in terms of cleaning up its officiating. From Joubert's call against Scotland to Bryce in the WC semi and Garces sending off of SBW on the Lions tour...too many big games and big moments are completely ruined. Too many rugby memories are tainted and it doesn't sit right with me. How about when Bizzie walked off while the entire stadium, including the TMO, knew that he had just executed a textbook tackle on the golden boy? That moment ruined a Tri-nations series.

And often times it comes down to total incompetence. 

Look at the ones mentioned above:

Bryce in WC Semi - Either cheating or massively incompetent

Joubert in the WC Scotland - Took his time, looked at the replays and then failed to apply the laws correctly.

Garces sends SBW off  in the Lions series - |A situation where Watson changes direction, falls over and bangs his head on SBW's shoulder while SBW is almost on one knee. Of course the referee is too incompetent to realise that he is watching the incident in slow motion and that it was basically impossible for SBW to respond in time, and that he, in fact, did get more than low enough for a legal tackle.

The Bizzie sending off - It's basically become a meme for incompetent reffing at this point.

These kinds of situations are probably bearable if they're rare. But it's virtually every tournament, every series. Like all others, this end-of-year tour has yet again been marred by poor reffing.

I just can't stand that so many games are rendered meaningless.

Nov 22, 2022, 13:57

It's made us, as a rugby team, so easy to dislike.

So many non points in the article.

One is that the attempt to blend the specific issues caused by SA rugby into general concerns about reffing.

As to the quotation, it is so off. SA rugby bring nothing to a rugby field. They add though the rugby comedy by playing the bad guy. People usually entertain a binary vision of things which requires contrast to appreciate the duality.

It is part of SA rugby contribution to the rugby comedy to make them hateable. That is how for example they got so appreciated in NZ: The NZers were as much as the good guys as SA rugby were the bad guys.

Major contribution to SA rugby: provide plausible causes for people to hate a team. Hence allowing the narrative villain vs hero.

Nov 22, 2022, 16:57

A decent compromise would be for the TMO to review all tries and penalties….quickly. Stick with the ref on any non obvious calls. And only go back one phase, except for foul play.

Ref’s call would be similar to umpire’s call in cricket….not necessarily dead right but acceptable in the interests of speeding up the game.

These tedious reviews are not making reffing better, just more cautious. Bad for the game. It’s a frigging sport not heart surgery. From where we are less reviews, not more, is the right path forward.

Nov 22, 2022, 17:07

Rassie was an annalist...still is, so he'll always notice refereeing mistakes...the consistency is a huge problem...much more can be done to improve things. a Proper mandatory tertiary qualification in rugby laws end refereeing techniques for starters...I hate the amateurish way rugby is still run. They will never get rid of the "Old Boys Club" image if they continue in this vein.

John Smit, Snorre and Rassie were all part of the team in 2011 and I can recall John Smit specifically being vocal about Bryce Lawrence's mistakes after the match and in interviews during the days that followed...a bit rich to complain about things now.

Nov 22, 2022, 17:35

A captain has the right to "query" some of the calls made during a game, in a TV interview directly after the game.

But Rassie has gone way beyond that with his actions.

Nov 23, 2022, 08:27

Yeah, and remember... rugby is probably the only professional sport in the world, where individuals and teams actually train and put specific game plans together, depending on which ref is blowing the game.....

That there.... already tells you that the interpretation of the rugby laws are all fucked up.

Nov 23, 2022, 09:47

Remember when the entire football fraternity was up in arms about the use of technology?

Today, on the back of a while spent with DRS, I've yet to see anyone want to go back to the previous system. Same with cricket. Same with any other sport that I can think of where more extensive use of technology has been employed to clean up officiating. 

Rugby really is miles behind the curve and, in my opinion, it's definitely hurting the game.

Nov 23, 2022, 16:29

On that note, as I have mentioned before, just imagine how Donald Bradman's average would have been affected.... if he had the exact same scrutiny of run outs, nicks, LBW's , dropped catches etc etc that Tendulkar, Kallis or Ponting had....

I am in no ways knocking him as the best, because he most certainly is, without a doubt....just saying that the overall batting average would not have been what it is now in the history books... 

Nov 23, 2022, 17:28

A soccer ref calls off sides and fouls and goals. But technology completely resolves goals. And makes offsides a breeze. 

In rugby the ref calls:


Grounding of the ball

Kicks traveling 10 metres

Forward passing offset for drift

Scrum collapses

Early engagement 

Pulling down the mauls

Lineout throws

Lineout 5 metre line breached

Off your feet in the ruck

Holding onto the ball

The tackle is made

Interference in the air

Kicks outside the 22


Obstructive running

High tackles

Tip tackle

Early tackles

Foot in touch

Not holding when offsides on the kick

And a host of things I have missed.


It’s by far the most complex reffing job in sport…..soccer and cricket are effectively resolved by technology because the crucial test comes in the phase of scoring.

Rugby is massively more complex and very often isn’t resolved by the TMO review. Rugby was actually way ahead of soccer in using the TMO, but hasn’t progressed because the trade off between more certainty and the game being enjoyable is already an issue.

Certainly things can always be improved. Perhaps a chip in the rugby ball could measure trajectory and the player chip imbedded in his neck can give the speed he is running when the pass is made. And tracking devices can measure all this, feeding the data into a drift algorithm giving an instant read out and a loud beep stopping the play. Will we enjoy the game more?

Better training of refs, less pressure to appoint refs from each country, limiting new rules especially before WCs and some rule simplification seems so much more acceptable.

Nov 23, 2022, 18:11

That sounds scary a chip in the neck :D

Nov 23, 2022, 20:03

Sports that allow collisions and confrontation are inherently difficult to police. Rugby union is one of them. There are so many things that a ref cannot see all at once, and from a solitary vantage point. Can the rules be streamlined? I think in some cases yes. For me, world rugby inserted problems when they tried to police the game, not for the purposes of fair play, but rather to police aesthetics. To alter how the game appears to the audience. From here came "interpretations". Not all refs police the game in the same manner. Some warn players of a looming call, others do not; some referees will do this only for one team. I believe South Africa has suffered this in the past. There has to be accountability, but it must be done in a way that does not bring the game into disrepute. To do so is a selfish and manipulative act.

Nov 24, 2022, 00:23

"That sounds scary a chip in the neck :D"

All players already have GPS trackers in their jerseys. 

Nov 24, 2022, 01:06


Nov 24, 2022, 08:40

"There are so many things that a ref cannot see all at once, and from a solitary vantage point."

Yep...so true

Nov 24, 2022, 08:52

Have two refs.

Nov 24, 2022, 08:52

Nov 24, 2022, 10:03

Two refs has been tried. I think it was trialled in New Zealand a few years ago and it was a flop.

The only solution would be to simplify the laws which would would in turn mess up the game.

There is no solution. Rugby is by far the most difficult major sport to officiate. Either get used to refs and TMOs making mistakes and stop whining and bitching every time a decision goes against you or else find some other sport to watch.

Rassie is just an embarrassment. He's almost as bad as Baboon-ou when it comes to snivelling and whimpering about the naughty refs.

I'll say it again for the umpteenth time . . . the refs who are lambasted, pilloried and derided are in fact the best and most qualified people we have to do what is a thankless and almost impossible task. If Rassie (or anyone else) has a solution, I'm sure the whole world would be listening but until then, he should harden up and stop being being such a pathetic and embarrassing crybaby. 

Nov 24, 2022, 10:59

The solution is to improve the standard of TMO findings

It’s human nature for the ref to get on field decisions wrong - we can live with that

But there is no excuse for a TMO to get as many decisions wrong or failing to pick things up as they do, given the technology they have at their disposal

Therefore improve the standard of the TMO - they need to be dedicated professionals tasked with that job alone

I’d rather the game be 10min longer, if it meant 99% of the calls made were correct and with that no result is determined by poor officiating

Nov 24, 2022, 12:20

The two ref system wasn't implemented very well. They need defined roles and strategic positioning on the field. It can be done. 

Nov 24, 2022, 12:24

Whether it's on-field or TMO, the laws of the game still require a level of subjectivity and no ref or TMO is going to please everyone.

The refs and TMOs are the best and most qualified people on our planet to do the job. If you have some bright idea how to improve the TMO decisions then I'm all ears but if you're just going to bang on like Baboon-ou about how they're all useless and need to improve then you probably fall into the category of people who should find another sport to watch . . . something simpler like cricket where the decisions are measurable and clear cut or football where as a ref you're only really looking for fouls and handballs, nothing else.

Rugby is much more complex therefore there will be far more questionable or controversial decisions. 

Nov 24, 2022, 14:05

Rugby is by far the most difficult major sport to officiate. Either get used to refs and TMOs making mistakes

No. That is incorrect. Other sports are way more difficult to officiate as what may be called a mistake usually is clear cut.

In rugby, people confuse their own perception as being the right one whereas other perceptions may be as well right.

The rugby game operates under a different paradigm. When in other sports, the outcome of an action supercedes everything else, in rugby, the outcome does not matter as much as the way to justify the perception of the outcome.

When a ref in rugby assesses the situation of a try, it does not matter to know whether the try is, what matters is the way to validate or invalidate a try. The way must comform to the rules, laws of rugby.

In many situations, in a case of a try or fouls or whatever, a ref can answer yes, there is a try/foul, no, there is no try/foul.

In every case, the ref must focus of the legality of the call. That is all.

And that is what people calling out refs for so called mistakes have wrong. They fail to consider the situation from the legal point. The call of a ref is in many situations wrong only when the justification provided does not match the laws of the game.

Reffing in rugby is very different by substance as it allows a ref to answer yes or no to a situation as long as the answer is conform to the law.

That is probably how this sport was chosen by the Apartheid regime.

Nov 24, 2022, 14:10

Rugby is much more complex therefore there will be far more questionable or controversial decisions.

No. Incorrect. Complexity has nothing to do with the ability to answer yes or no, 0 or 1.Complex problems usually have determined solutions.

Rugby is one of the least complex sports to ref as the answer does not matter.

All it takes is to learn how to validate or invalidate the perception of an outcome using the texts of rugby.

Nov 24, 2022, 16:49

Erasmus is using social media to create that external pressure to bend the refs into making those 50/50 calls for his team.

Alucard making his name mud again. NO Rassie is calling out bad reffing and somebody has to do it. If you think all these calls are fifty fifty you are dafter than a hatter! 

The IRB do nothing and the game is being spoilt by these guys. Refs don't get disciplined like players do. They are a protected species and so here we are

As for Lardy John he is a stand out when it comes to a go along to get along type.  Useless oak.

Stop squealing girls Rassie is doing the right thing standing up for the Boks when they are getting robbed. Man  some oaks here  have no moral fibre. Utterley pathetic.

Nov 24, 2022, 17:10

Fifty fifty calls should even out but the problem is there is bias at times! Reffing one side only its called.

Then we get to blatant mistakes which we are asked to believe the ref, touchline judges and TMO all cant sort out. Then we are asked to accept that repeated blatant mistakes must also be accepted. Bwahahhahahahahahaha only the most pathetic of loons would accept this nonsense i.e. you have to be as weak kneed as poor rooitwit and as dumb! As for mozzz as long as time is not wasted who cares how much rubbish reffing is dished out.

No thinking people realize this has to be sorted out and things can be vastly improved via is there was a will to do it.

Rassie has made a great contribution at considerable personal risk to get this debate going. I fear though that many more videos are necessary before the establishment are forced to clean up the game.

Nov 24, 2022, 17:31

Balls! The whole thing is too complex for you, you just want a villain so you can play the victim.

Nov 24, 2022, 17:47

Disagree the TMO’s are not the best qualified out there if they much such obvious errors as not picking up on an Irish boot kicking a ball through the ruck or an obvious forward pass - all leading to an Irish try

Same as awarding that one England try against AB’s in England’s big come back

There was no ways the English prop grounded that ball on the line

Same as Mbonambi’s try against Italy

Farrell high no arms hit on Esterhuizen

We could go on for ever

Nov 24, 2022, 18:13

For ever is right…reducing the game to a video review borathon.

Nov 24, 2022, 18:26

So, the coach of the least penalised team of all top 20 nations (by a comfortable margin) is a hero for standing up to the boogeyman who is victimising the team, thereby costing them tests matches? I wonder how the coaches and players of the teams who have been shafted by refs against the Boks are feeling? This could have enormous long term repercussions. 

Nov 24, 2022, 18:38

Good on Rassie

Nov 24, 2022, 19:22

I'd love to walk Erasmus through the past two seasons alone. It would be very educational. However, I doubt the man is honest and open enough to provide a two-way review of the matter. Of course, it is all slanted to control the referee the way he controls South African rugby.

Nov 24, 2022, 23:21

Rassie would not be stupid enough to entertain your rugby ignorance

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