to cheer the Irish
By Vimal Perera
Ireland beat England 19-13 in the six nation championship match
played recently in Dublin. Beating World Cup winners was something
to cheer the Irish. Not so for Jonathan Kaplan the South African
Referee who was at the receiving end of criticism for some of the
decisions he made. Joining in the criticism in the post match comments
were Andy Robinson the England coach and Colin High the RFU's elite
referee manager who is also an IRB recognized assessor. Robinson
has seen his side lose all three Six Nations matches this year.
Robinson has been analyzing Kaplan's display with Colin High, the
Rugby Football Union's referees' manager, and ex-international referee
Steve Lander. "The International Rugby Board will be disappointed,"
High told the Daily Mail." Jonathan Kaplan is in the top 20
in the world but that wasn't an international performance."
It would not have been acceptable in the Zurich Premiership. "If
one of my referees had done that, I would have had my backside kicked
for making the appointment. If any English referee refereed like
that in a European match, there would be an inquest. No question
about that." If someone had performed like that, he would have
been pulled from the next game."
is interesting is how the RFU reacted. The RFU disciplinary committee
ruled that the post match comments of Robinson contained "no
overt criticism. The RFU have formally reminded Robinson to avoid
making critical comments of match officials during press conferences
and interviews and to abide by the IRB Regulation 20.1.5 a section
relating to the abuse of match officials.
High the elite referee manger received a harsher verdict for the
comments he made of Kaplan handling the game in a newspaper interview.
High apologized for the comments he made in the Daily Mail. Nevertheless
the RFU ruled that High’s outburst "represents a much
more serious breach of IRB regulation 20.1.5.than Robinson’s
and that he should be punished accordingly. The disciplinary committee
recommended, the RFU should
Warn Collin High about his future conduct. The written warning being
recorded. II. Confirm Colin High's provisional suspension from officiating
as an international referee assessor by the IRB - whether he officiated
again is left to the IRB selection committee.
Note that Colin High has written letters of apology to the IRB six
nations, The south African RFU ( and particularly to Jonathan Kaplan
) and the Directors of Rugby at ZP Clubs.
Ask Colin High to make a donation to the IRB's Tsunami appeal of
In a similar incident previously, that is in February Pountney was
handed an RFU ban and fine.
coach Budge Pountney was fined £2,000 and banned from match-day
coaching for six weeks for calling a referee "a disgrace".
Pountney was found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute at
a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing in London. Pountney
criticized referee Steve Lander's performance in Northampton's defeat
by Saracens on 5 February. The last two weeks of the six-week ban
are suspended. Pountney pleaded guilty to the offence before a panel
.The ban means former Scotland international Pountney cannot enter
the playing enclosure, technical areas or go near the touchline,
tunnel or players and officials' areas on the day of a game.
in taking action by the RFU is the IRB regulation 20.1.5. Regulation
20 refers to the CODE OF CONDUCT which require All Unions, Associations,
Rugby Bodies, Clubs and Persons to ensure that the Game is played
and conducted in accordance with disciplined and sporting behaviour
and acknowledge that it is not sufficient to rely solely upon the
Match Officials to maintain those principles;
20.1.5 requires not to publish or cause to be published criticism
of the manner in which a referee or touch judge handled a Match;
and 20.1.6 refers to not publishing or cause to be published criticism
of the manner in which Council or any other rugby disciplinary body
handled or resolved any dispute or disciplinary matter resulting
from a breach of the Bye-Laws, Regulations, or Laws of the Game;
per clause 20.2 Each Union and Association is under an obligation
to and in terms of regulation 20.2.1 requires to comply with and
to ensure that each of its members comply with this Code of Conduct;
while article 20.2.2 to Adopt procedures to monitor compliance with
and impose sanctions for breaches of the Code of Conduct by Persons
under its jurisdiction.
professional status is solely not limited to the payment to players,
coaches referees etc, but also having an environment suitable to
conduct the game in the 'spirit 'as expected in the playing charter
which is expected to be an important complement to the laws of the
game and will set the standards for all those who are involved in
the game at whatever level.
the code of conduct has a place in the game another important aspect
should be the adherence to regulation 4 which deals with player
status, player contracts and player movement. This deals with the
status and eligibility of players and their movement. There is also
a requirement for clearance of a contracted player and for compensation
in recognition of the investment made in the development of players
These among many other aspects in the guidelines will help the game
as approaches to leave one club and join another is a common worry
among the lesser affluent clubs.
rugby is to rise from the bottom of the pit, professionalism will
be important, structure and guidelines will be helpful. Most of
these are in the regulations and may only need modification to suit
the Sri Lankan environment.