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Sport24.co.za | Kaplan 'not convinced' by SA referees


Cape Town – Jonathan Kaplan, considered by many to be the best referee that South Africa has ever produced, is not impressed by the country’s current crop of match officials. 

The 2018 edition of Super Rugby has seen refereeing firmly in the spotlight, with controversies and talking points common place after most weekends. 

From dangerous tackles to TMO decisions, there seems to be a struggle for consistency in the tournament so far, or at least that is the public perception. 

For Kaplan, the problems stem off the field. 

A veteran of 70 Test matches, the now-51-year-old believes that the existing structures are not working, particularly in South Africa.

“I’m not sure that this is the strongest bunch of referees that I’ve seen at Super Rugby level, and I’m not sure if that’s got to do with transition or management,” Kaplan told Sport24 on Monday.

“From my perspective, I’ve felt that they could be managed and coached a lot better than they are.

“I don’t think we’re very strong in South Africa. I think New Zealand probably has the best young crop of referees, but they also come a cropper because they haven’t earned their scars and they make quite a few errors.

“I’m not convinced about the South African batch at the moment.”

Kaplan acknowledges, though, that the current global interpretation of certain laws are making refereeing difficult

“To have faultless referees is never going to happen,” he said.

“I think some of the laws put the referees in a very difficult position. The tackle laws, for example, around a dangerous hit. Where did the tackle start? I’m all in favour of yellow and red cards if a tackle is that dangerous, but it’s at the lower end where you find some inconsistency.

“I think that part of the law puts the referee into a difficult position to act when there should be more common sense.”

Kaplan also spoke about the need for technology to be used to its fullest potential, something he is not sure is happening currently. 

“I think there could be a better percentage success rate than there is at the moment and I think the public feels that as well, which is why we’re getting that frustration,” he said. 



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