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Best Referees In The World

Discussion in 'Rugby Discussion' started by Lee Grant, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. Lee Grant John Eales (66)

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    IMO the SAffers have the best referees in the world and Craig Joubert is the no.1 ref in our sport, even though he's not that high on the SA merit order.

    A year or two ago I read something written by a SAffer fan deploring the fact that the RSA had the best refs but because of the neutrality convention in the Super14 and 3N plus other tests, SAffer teams never got the benefit of them.

    At first I thought it was typical laager thinking but since then I have come to the same opinion. I think that the SANZAR folks were of the same mind when they changed the neutrality rule in the Super 14. I forget what noises they made at the time but "we want our best referees to officiate in more Super14 games" was probabaly the catalyst for change.

    With referees such as Kaplan, Jonker and Joubert, plus up and comer Stu Berry, the SAffers are well served and teams from other countries benefit from them. Berry has been of high class in the Currie Cup and 7s matches and is a future big test match referee if I am any judge. Peyper has promise too.

    It may be noted that I didn't include Mark Lawrence. I think his standards have dropped and I'm not just referring to his performance in the Sydney Bledisloe this year in making that remark. I thought he was very good 3 years ago and remember being surprised that he didn't get a RWC appointment; but he has lost form since. He could get it back though and I hope he does.

    As for Oz: I can't recall too many promising fellows though sometimes it is the Steady Eddie that ends up being an elite ref. Dickenson, warts and all, is still our best. He has done well to come back after being wrongly castigated by O'Brien subsequent to the Kiwis squealing after their Italian Job.

    "Aussie Steve" Walsh still talks too much and is stuck with "Hoiles syndrome" - the compulsion to listen too much to clever captains and to answer them in detail.

    You'd think the Europeans would come up with better refs than they have: there are so many of them. Wayne Barnes is overtaking Rolland IMO but needs to get the gravitas of the older guy. Irishman Clancy looks promising.

    The French refs are poor as a group. I agree with T78 that Jerome Garces, someone he reminded me of after I commended Romaine Poite, is the best French referee. On Poite: I'd love to see him referee the Brumbies and Hoiles approach him. His understanding of spoken English is rudimentary and he would be saying: "Dont talk" all day. It's his standard line when speaking to Brit players and the way the skippers approach him is humorous. They know that they can only use a few simple words and they cringe over to him wondering what the right ones are.

    Who else? The Kiwis used to have the best referees but a lot have dropped out. Bryce Lawrence is their top rated ref but he is full of complexities and has made some major blunders that deserved official censure. Unlike Dickinson, he never got any that I can recall. Keith Brown is an up and comer though I'd never invite him to a party.

    The cheerful Pollock is quite good but not stellar. A fellow I like is Munro, but although he's refereed a few minor test matches he's a bit old at nearly 42 to be a force in world refereeing.

    All the referees I have mentioned as good have made mistakes and there is no need to go there unless you really want to.
  2. Rothschild Banned

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    This might appear glib and for those youmger than 4-=50 just wouldn't get it, but Dr. Roger vanderfield stands head and shoulder above them all.
    Having played many, many games under his officiating at varied levels of the game, being a ref myself I am stunned that none of the modern day refs come close in terms of errors, player management and application of the laws.
    Granted, the game now is far more technical, the laws are far more open for different interpretations but the good Doctor's demeanor and attitude was superior beyond comprehension or comparison.
    cyclopath likes this.
  3. Lee Grant John Eales (66)

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    Yeah - good comment. The Doc was king wasn't he? He was a great Australian with it considering what he did for the sport as a whole, and in the medical field.

    The players liked being refereed by him because they knew how accurate he was and if that was not enough to get their respect the firm quiet way he handled them clinched it.

    The only guy I can compare to him is Bill Fright, a Kiwi ref in the 1950's: also quiet, firm and accurate. Some South African officials (not Craven) said Fright was biased in 1956 but although their team had some great players it wasn't a great side by their standards. It was their first series loss to the Kiwis so IMO they thought it their duty to whinge to their folks at home.

    We don't have referees like Vanderfield and Fright these days. Those were the times when rugby players respected the referee a lot more, and indeed, when younger people respected older people more. The game has changed and the combination of pro rugby and more of it on TV has a lot to do with.

    These days referees as a group are their worst enemies. Why they allow skippers like Hoiles at the Super level and McCaw at the test level to get in their ear so often - and frequently not even to question the decision but to get into the refs mind about something else - is beyond me. Each decade it gets worse.

    The first ref to tell Hoiles, McCaw and Co. to shut up will get my applause from the lounge chair.

    But I digress.
  4. The_Brown_Hornet David Codey (61)

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    Is Chris White still reffing? He'd be my favourite. Nigel Owens is good too.

    Kaplan I don't like at all, but I do accept the argument that the Saffers have the best overall group.
  5. Hawko John Hipwell (52)

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    I think Barnes is in front of Joubert, who tends to make mistakes and gets a set against certain people, though he's the best of the South Africans by a mile. I don't rate Kaplan, he takes a set against particular teams and cannot referee impartially. I think Rolland is disappointing, though he is definitely on the second level behind Barnes and Joubert.

    I heartily endorse your comment about Munro. I do not believe his age should be held against him, I haven't seen a game where he doesn't keep up, and he is soooo far in front of Lawrence that there's miles of daylight between them. I'd love to see him get a few big games, I think he would go into the top three if he was given the chance.
  6. Lee Grant John Eales (66)

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    I meant that if Munro hasn't made his mark by now at over 40 and having refereed for 14 years, and not having been picked yet for bigger games, it is unlikely that he will make his mark in world rugby. I didn't mean it should be the case. It could be that he was content not to be promoted when he was younger and a full time policeman and that's why we have seen him only in the last few years. Who knows?

    Agree with his getting a shot at a bigger game though, and starting with a diet of big Super non-Kiwi games.


    I like White too, always have, but he's slowed down around the park a lot, which may be why he isn't on the IRB test panel these days. Yeh, Owens is a decent ref and I'd have him on the tier below Barnes and Rolland.
  7. Bruce Ross Ken Catchpole (46)

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    Bloody hell! Not only does LG seem to have an informed opinion about every player who ever laced a boot on, but he actually does the same with the random decision generators.
    dobduff11 and Jnor like this.
  8. RugbyReg Phil Waugh (73)

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    is that random (pause) decision-generators or random-decision (pause) generators?
  9. Bruwheresmycar Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    Agreed, SA has the most quality refs. NZ isn't too far behind, and Australia seems to lack a bit of depth. We need more rugby games to ref, or we need to start sending our refs over to NZ for half the year to get practice in. They basically have good level rugby to ref all year round in NZ, which is why its no surprise they continually pump out world class refs.

    I'm a ref myself and I ref touch rugby over summer because there is nothing else to do. We get about 25 games a season of actual rugby in the few months that it is actually played here in WA.
  10. Bruce Ross Ken Catchpole (46)

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    Definitely the latter, RR.
  11. chief John Solomon (38)

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    I can't go past Wayne Barnes, by far the best in the world. We saw it in the Ireland v NZ game, we saw it in the Aus V SA game. Joubert is hot and cold, when he's refereeing well he referees excellently, but when he's bad, he is too pedantic on ruck infringements, and is sometimes too quick to the whistle.

    In fact, Dickinson actually missed out on another 6 nations appointment, yet Steve Walsh got one (England v France). Obviously means Dickinson's time is done. Out of all the referees I've seen Dickinson has been the one who was no nonsense at the breakdown, Crusaders v Stormers in Cape Town this year we saw the Crusaders trying every trick in the book, yet Dickinson completely shut the Reid and McCaw infringements down. This was the best refereeing performance under the interpretations I've seen so far.

    Rolland and Clancy aren't too far behind.
  12. HKTiger Allen Oxlade (6)

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    Wayne Barnes - reffing since the age of 15. has never scrummaged in his entire life. Has absolutely no idea what happens at Scrum engagement time. Has absolutely no idea about what holding back 850 kilos of a scrum while he "paaauuuussseesss" for eternity means. Can't spot a loosehead boring in even if said looseheads arse is at 90 degrees to the scrum.

    Absolutely crucified the Italians in the 6 Nations.

    Can't spot a forward pass even if it starts one side of the 22 and ends up on the attacking side.

    Couldn't identify a player entering a ruck from the side (i.e. not through the "gate") if the player was dressed in magenta and danced around him 3 times singing "I'm coming in from the side, I'm coming in from the side".

    Sorry Barnes is and always will be a Hack.

    Most of the scrum comments apply to Joubert as well. He has absolutely no idea what occurs in a scrum.

    Jonker used to manage the scrums OK but he has slipped. Rolland normally handles the scrum OK.
  13. Running Rugby Sydney Middleton (9)

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    If Barnes is a hack, how do you rate the now retired George Ayoub???
  14. Groucho Greg Davis (50)

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    I think it's Crouch, Touch, Paaauuuse. Mistake
  15. Gagger Nick Farr-Jones (63)

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    I have to admit to myself that either I just mustn't have a balanced view on refs, because I can't help but think that a lot of them look to me to be "non neutral" in their performance. They have a few good games then it all goes to shit

    Joubert who reffed le Fuse out of international rugby and Aus out of the match for binding like every other tight head prop does

    Brycie who had a number of shockers, and the Munster farce was classic hometeam reffing, like an old Lions tour in SA

    Alan Lewis for reffing us out of the first Honkers test (or was it Tokyo?). He was diabolical

    Kaplan, well he's the most openly biased of the lot. You can't explain his Tahs stats any other way and he does the same vs the Wallabies

    No doubt what hasn't helped though is that over the last few years the Wallabies have been victims in the key areas that wind me up; the scrum and breakdown, plus we've been losing by small margins, so shit decision have made big impacts. All this our own fault.

    Refs I have warmer feelings for in this front - White, Munro, Barnes. Although this might be because they haven't had the chance to shaft us so much recently!

    Having said all that, I used to think that about most refs when I played, so maybe my brain is just conditioned to look at refs as if I've been running chasing the pill for an hour with a heart rate in the red zone.

    PS - I also think they have an unbelievably hard job. Watching a scrum live in real time with no replay from ground level on one side and picking the problem(s) is close to impossible
  16. Gnostic Mark Ella (57)

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    Kaplan is the only ref I actually dislike. The others are all pretty good and have good and bad points and varying performances like anybody else. Kaplan on the other hand has destroyed the Tahs on more times than I can count often with mystifying calls. The arrogance of his demeanor also just seems to grate on me as well.

    I think the lack of referees in Oz is directly attributable to the lack of a third tier in Oz to develop them. The semi Pro Shute Shield can only take a ref so far and the step up to Super Rugby from there is just huge. The ARU needs to look at some external avenue to develop our whistlers. Perhaps some sort of arrangement can be made with the Saffas and Kiwis to get our best up and comers game time in the NPC and Currie Cup. Without this after next year I would expect Dickenson to retire and there will be no Oz ref in international games and possibly even Super Rugby. Has Leckie retired?
  17. Blue Andrew Slack (58)

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    Lee I find it interesting that you rate Joubert ahead of Mark Lawrence. Generally I think in SA Lawrence is rated ahead of Joubert.

    I find Lawrence far more decisive and he communicates well. Joubert can be a bit iffy.
  18. wal

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    I wont comment on individual referee's but I think that this last season of S14 had a better standard across the board of decisions than I have seen in the past few years. It could have been the changes in the laws, I am not sure, yet I feel that the international standard has dropped. I am normally pretty one eyed when it comes to my support of the wallabies, but I have even found myself questioning decisions for and against both teams. The one thing that I wish could happen is that refs have scrum experience, yet most front rowers dont get around the field well enough to go into reffing.
  19. Lee Grant John Eales (66)

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    I think exactly the opposite but that is neither here nor there. In my view Lawrence panics.
  20. cyclopath Nathan Sharpe (72)

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    Barnes, Munro, Mark Lawrence, Chris White, Dickinson, Joubert - not necessarily in any order. I agree re Kaplan a bit - when you look at the details, it seems odd, at least, that he is such an outlier when it comes to certain teams. Is he "partial"? Don't know if I'd go that far, but subconsciously he does seem to hate the Tahs, and the Wobbs in that order just a bit!
    I concur about Roger Vanderfield - was reffed by him when at school, terrific ref.

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