Ditch the Captain’s Challenge in every competition, just as the Aussies and Kiwis have done for their Trans-Tasman Super Rugby, which starts this weekend. The Rainbow Cup SA should can it immediately.
It is a joke; a free penalty at any stage of the game.
The Stormers and Bulls Rainbow Cup SA match was particularly farcical because every challenge could have resulted in a penalty to either side.
There is something called a rugby collision. You freeze frame every rugby collision and there will be contact to some part of the face and most definitely contact above the shoulder because in the instant of contact the shoulder moves up.
If you freeze frame, in super slow motion, every try scored, it will also look as if the try-scorer has lost control of the ball.
Nothing in super slow motion reflects accurately what happens in normal time at a normal speed.
Take any clear out at the ruck. In that split second there is a collision and the game moves on.
Now start playing with the replays and slow it down to that 100 hundreds of a hundredth freeze frame and the gladiators will all be banished from making contact.
What is even worse than the super slow motion on replay is that the referee, who, in real time, waved ‘play on’ now is making a television decision that is not reflective of what he witnessed in real time.
Former Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer once told me that the laws of rugby were so complicated and down to referee interpretation that if a referee turned his back on the play, faced the spectators, blew his whistle turned around and penalized a team, replays would find something vindicate the penalty. It was madness, he said.
There are too many variations of too many laws and too much is down to referee interpretation, let alone now involving captains and players who feel they are wronged in every collision.
The reason there is a TMO is to attempt to eradicate the try-scoring howler or the foul play shocker that is missed by the referee.
The Captain’s Call was a shocker from the moment it was introduced because captain’s were making a challenge on something they experienced or were told happened ‘some phases back’ and ‘somewhere on the field’.
Halt the game, and now a television producer has to start looking for justification for the Captain’s Call.
It got so bad on the weekend that every time a try was scored, the referee consulted with the defending team to find out if they were going for a Captain’s Challenge. What is even worse is that the referees couldn’t even blow the final whistle without doing a consult to see if there was anything the losing team wanted to challenge.
Sanity has prevailed in the Trans-Tasman. No more Captain’s Challenge.
It should be no more ever.
Equally, when does a referee penalize and when does he coach a team offending? In one instance a referee pins No 6 for not rolling away; in another he screams to the opposing No 6 on several occasions to roll away. Which was is it?
Rugby, in the modern era, speaks to too many nuances (under the guise of innovation) that betrays the essence of a contact sport.