SANZAAR citings: What happened to consistency?
OPINION: Jan de Koning looks into an incident that has cast a pall over the Lions' impressive win over the Stormers at the weekend.
Coaches say, ad nauseam, that all they want is "consistency" from match officials.
That should go for citing officials as well.
I think the big Newlands derby, in which the Lions scored an impressive 29-16 win over the Stormers, is another classic example of the gross inconsistencies that still exist in the game.
For context, I first have to revisit the citing of Lions flank Jaco Kriel.
The Springbok will appear before a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, charged with having contravened Law 10.4(o): Late-charging the kicker.
The referee for the match, Jaco Peyper, awarded a yellow card for the incident which occurred in the 26th minute - when he collided with Stormers flyhalf Robert du Preez after attempting to charge down a clearance kick.
Upon further review of the match footage, citing commissioner Deker Govender deemed, in his opinion, that the incident had met the red card threshold for foul play.
That is all fine and dandy. After all, World Rugby has 'demanded' that sterner action should be taken against foul play.
In my humble opinion, Kriel was already airborne when he collided with the Stormers flyhalf. The issue is whether his forearm deliberately connected with Du Preez's face.
That question he will have to answer at Wednesday's hearing and then accept whatever decision they make.
My beef is NOT with the citing of Kriel.
I take exception to the fact that the citing commissioner, Govender, did not cite any other players - having set a certain 'standard' with his citing of Kriel.
Maybe most of them were borderline cases - with one blatant exception.
Lions scrumhalf Ross Cronje was bundled into touch and at least two Stormers landed on top of him.
He then received a nice facial massage (in some circles also called eye-gouging) from a Stormers player.
The evidence is there for all to see and also added to this article.
Govender, by the standards he set with the Kriel citing, should have cited the culprit that dished out that not so friendly 'facial' on his opponent.
All we ask is 'CONSISTENCY'.
According to the dictionary and by his own standards (from this game) Govender was NOT consistent.
This is what the dictionary says about it:
A: Agreement or harmony of parts or features to one another or a whole
B: Ability to be asserted together without contradiction
C: Harmony of conduct or practice with profession
A: Marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity. Free from variation or contradiction
B: Marked by agreement
C: Showing steady conformity to character, profession, belief, or custom
I have no idea if Govender's inconsistency was deliberate or accidental.
If the Lions had pointed out the incident to SANZAAR their point of contact would have been the citing official for this match, Govender.
SANZAAR was not willing to say if a formal complaint had been lodged and as always, a veil of protection have been drawn over the match officials.
That is why any suggestion of 'consistency' will remain empty promises by SANZAAR.
All we ask is for CONSISTENCY!
By Jan de Koning
* This article initially, incorrectly, stated that Freek Burger was the citing commissioner for the match. rugby365 unequivocally apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused Burger. However, the mistake does not change the essence of the article - which addresses the inconsistencies that exist in the SANZAAR citing processes.