From TV ref to touch judge

Linston Manuels will not serve as a TV match official for the next few weeks to allow him to regain his confidence.

However, in a strange move by Super 14 organisers, Manuels will still be involved as a touch judge this weekend for the Waratahs-Blues match in Sydney – an arguably more important job than that of the TMO.

Saru has rushed to Manuels’s aid, vowing to help him recover from the blunder that cost the Bulls victory against the Hurricanes last weekend.

Perhaps the first thing Saru should do is give the poor man a copy of the rule book and a new pair of glasses.

Saru referees manager Andre Watson said they had investigated the incident and considered all factors around Manuel’s decision to disallow the Bulls’ try. They found the try to have been legitimate and that Manuels had made a mistake.

“Without going into reasons for his decision, it must be stated that it was a human error,” says Watson. “The television match official judged that the player did not make contact with the ball with his upper body.

“We are taking remedial steps to make sure that similar incidents do not occur in the future. Having said that, we must also take into account that where people are involved, there are never any guarantees.”

Watson said Manuels would bouce back from this setback.

“We need to get his confidence back. He is one of our top referees, we rate him,” he said.