Marius Jonker (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – A renowned New Zealand scribe has hit out at the standard of officiating in the southern hemisphere.
Mark Reason, who writes for the Stuff.co.nz website, said while southern hemisphere teams play better rugby than their northern counterparts, the same cannot be said for the officials.
Reason in particular took a swipe at the television match officials, with South Africa’s Marius Jonker at the top of his list.
Jonker was the subject of much controversy earlier this month when he disallowed a Crusaders try in their 19-all draw with the Stormers at Newlands.
The visitors from New Zealand seemingly scored a match-clinching try, before Jonker claimed there was a forward pass, with SANZAAR afterwards admitting he had erred.
“The application of the television match official protocols are particularly worrying. Half of the TMOs think they are ‘God’ up there. They have been told time and again by World Rugby that it is the referee who remains God, but still they take power into their own hands,” Reason wrote.
Reason said Jonker’s decision “surprised even a couple of the South African commentators”.
He added: “Jonker, heaven help us, will be one of the four TMOs at the World Cup. The other three are Ben Skeen, Graham Hughes and Rowan Kitt. I think we can have a reasonable amount of faith in these three, particularly Hughes who is consistently excellent.
“But bonkers Jonker is a law unto himself. The World Rugby guidelines are very clear around the role of the TMO. He is there to advise the referee. Indeed the word advice is underlined. The TMO must also not overrule the referee unless the evidence is CLEAR and OBVIOUS.
“Jonker breached all of those directives. Jonker said to referee Nic Berry, another who is going to the World Cup, “I’m going to show you a forward pass … Can you hear me. We have a forward pass. There’s clear and compelling evidence of a forward pass back on the halfway.
“This is not advice. Jonker did not ask Berry to look. He did not consult. He took over the referee’s supreme authority and so undermined him. And as it happened, he also got it wrong. And Jonker got it wrong not just once, but twice.”
After sitting out last weekend’s Super Rugby action, Jonker is back in the TMO booth this weekend for the South African derby between the Lions and Stormers at Ellis Park.
In his column, Reason also highlighted errors made by TMO Glenn Newman in this past weekend’s Chiefs v Reds match in Hamilton.
He concluded the column by saying “TMOs are incredibly and consistently wrong. Let’s get rid of them altogether or go to a system like football’s VAR.”
To read the full column on the Stuff.co.nz website, CLICK HERE.