SANZAR drop ref Pollock
Chris Pollock, New Zealand's No.1 referee, has not been considered for Super Rugby play-offs because of loss of form.
Chris Pollock, New Zealand's No.1 referee has not been considered for Super Rugby play-offs because of loss of form.
Pollock, who spent a long time away from the game because of injury, refereed the first Wallaby-B&I Lions Test not long ago and is now considered to be underperforming and so left out for this weekend.
Glen Jackson will referee the play-off in Canberra - where the Brumbies host the Cheetahs, a match for a New Zealand referee because it involves and Australian and a South African team.
Lyndon Bray, who is SANZAR's game manager, a portfolio that includes refereeing, confirmed Pollock's dropping for loss of form, but he also said: "Chris is part of five referees that we considered for the finals and will continue to consider."
The others are presumably Craig Joubert and Jaco Peyper, Steve Walsh and Glen Jackson and they presumably will be the referees from whom the appointments for the semifinals and final will be made, as there is no chance now for Pollock to prove he is of an acceptable standard..
There is speculation that Pollock's sending off of the Blues' flank Kane Barrett has contributed to his axing.
The sending off produced an outcry from Blues' coach John Kirwan which became an chorus when Michael Cheika of the Waratahs and Allister Coetzee of the Stormers, the coaches of the three teams that just missed the play-offs joined in.
Bray said: "Chris has missed out but it's not just Saturday, but that obviously has a significant part to play in the decision, but I think Chris has had a pretty tough month.
"The form is one aspect to it, as we look at current form and obviously confidence levels, what sort of form you're carrying into big match rugby, like finals.
"And secondly we do also consider the experience and track record of a referee, just as you would with a player in that context.
"We took all of that into account in determining where he sit against the other four.
"The simple reality is that, of course Chris could handle any of the matches in the finals series. That in itself is not an issue.
"But we have five quality referees, four of whom we have considered would get ahead of him on the basis of form and performance in recent weeks."
It is quite possible that Pollock has not really recovered from his long lay-off and the operations he underwent. Not being 100 percent physically can damage a referee's confidence and performance.
Bray went on to say: "The best thing for Chris is to get over the last month. The job now for us and for Chris is to get him back into a really good space and back into really good form for the rest of this season."
Source: TV NZ's One News