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SANZAR axes three refs

Mon, 24 Mar 2014 07:41
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Berry keeps his job
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SANZAR has removed the names of three referees from their list of appointments for the next two rounds of Super Rugby, following poor performances.

Australian James Leckie, South Africa's Lourens van der Merwe and Argentinean match official Francisco Pastrana are the casualties of SANZAR's 'performance review'.

Nick Briant will replace Pastrana and officiate the Round Seven encounter between the Crusaders and Hurricanes in Christchurch on Friday.

Steve Walsh will replace Van der Merwe and oversee the Blues versus Highlanders clash in Auckland on Saturday.

Leckie was not appointed for any specific matches, but his recent performances meant he also became a casualty of the performance review.

Suggestions that another South African, Stuart Berry, was also axed has been dismissed by SANZAR.

His performance in the Lions' dramatic come-from-behind 23-20 win over the Reds at weekend has not cost him any appointments.

The Reds were penalised four times more (16 to four) in the match, but his bosses gave him a vote of approval for that performance.

Berry, Angus Gardner, Andrew Lees and Matt O'Brien were not scheduled for primary refereeing appointments in the coming fortnight, but will be considered for Rounds Nine and 10.

SANZAR Game Manager Lyndon Bray said they have always strived to have "strong accountability" within their team of referee.

"Importantly, we want accountability for the competition," Bray said.

"As such, we have always sought to conduct ourselves in a fair, transparent and open manner.

"One of our core strategic objectives is to grow the depth of the team that is able to referee 'any game, any time.'

"In line with this, we have reduced the size of the team heading into the next phase of the competition and in doing so, have recognised who has performed to expectation and who has not.

"The aim is to give this smaller pool of referees more game time so when it comes to the play-offs, there's a great deal of pressure around who will earn those highly sought after appointments and from a Super Rugby perspective, that the competition is getting a consistent high standard of refereeing."

Revised appointments:

Round Seven:
Crusaders v Hurricanes - Nick Briant
Rebels v Brumbies - Jaco Peyper
Blues v Highlanders - Steve Walsh
Reds v Stormers - Chris Pollock
Bulls v Chiefs - Craig Joubert
Sharks v Waratahs - Mike Fraser

Round Eight (no change):
Highlanders v Rebels - Chris Pollock
Brumbies v Blues - Rohan Hoffmann
Hurricanes v Bulls - Steve Walsh
Reds v Force - Garratt Williamson
Cheetahs v Chiefs - Craig Joubert
Lions v Crusaders - Marius van der Westhuizen
Stormers v Waratahs - Glen Jackson

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