Refs’ performances please Watson

Sanzar manager of referees Andre Watson claims he has been more then happy with the standards of referring so far in this year’s Super 14.

While the hybrid ELVs have come in for some criticism from some factions of the public and media, Watson claims he has yet to receive any official complaints from any of the Super 14 sides.

“It’s been much better then it was at the same time last year, Watson told “There are certainly some referees who still need some work, in terms of applying the hybrid ELVs correctly, but overall there has been a high pass mark thus far.”

Watson, however, admits that there has been a noticeable difference in standards between referees who form part of the elite panel and those who don’t.

“Clearly the referees who are not on the merit panel have not always had solid games, which just shows that, like the players, we too have a starting lineup and a bench, although some of the our ‘bench’ referees have done a great job.”

Russell Barwick recently wrote a scathing article for in which he slated the hybrid ELVs and used some interesting quotes from some well respected television commentators to support his theory that no one knows exactly how the laws work.

But Watson was quick to reject the notion that any player would not know what he has been blown up for.

“Penalties at the breakdown are given for offsides and entering the ruck from the side,” said Watson. “I don’t believe a player will not know why a penalty has been awarded, maybe some fans might not know but the referee will always communicate to the player why he has been penalised.

“The one difference that we have seen this year is that referees have now been awarding penalties and in some cases yellow cards for repeated infringements. We now have much more consistency and that is why I believe the product is so much better this time around.”

Although Watson has been happy with the refereeing after the first three rounds of the competition, he admits it is still a work in progress with accuracy and consistency at the breakdown being the two major areas where he would like to see an improvement.

By Andrew Worling