One of New Zealand's top rugby referee's Chris Pollock has been dropped from the Super Rugby playoffs which start this weekend.
Pollock came under fire for issuing Blues flanker Kane Barrett a red card in Saturday's Blues clash which was won 16-26 by the Chiefs.
SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray says that Pollock was dropped because of his recent overall form rather than Barrett's red card.
"Chris is part of five referees that we considered for the finals and will continue to consider," Bray said.
"Chris has missed out but it's not just Saturday night, 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 does he sit against the other four."
Three weeks ago Pollock was in charge of the first British and Irish Lions Test match against the Wallabies in Brisbane but is now likely to have a couple of runs in Club rugby before the ITM Cup.
Pollock received heavy criticism from the Lions for his performance in the first Test which the Wallabies won the penalty count 12-7 and the Reds card on the weekend has put him under the microscope.
"The best thing for Chris is to get over the last month. He had the big Lions experience of course, (going) into this particular game (Blues v Chiefs)," Bray told ONE Sport .
"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."
With regard to the drama surrounding Pollock's decision to issue a red card on Saturday, Bray was remaining tight-lipped."
"Chris ruled on his factual evidence which I think he did entirely appropriately from a referee perspective. The rest of that now has to go to judicial and we can't afford to prejudice that process at all by discussing any of that incident," he said.
"Simple reality, 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."
Impartial referee's have been appointed for this week's matches as South Africa's Jaco Peyper will be in charge of the Crusaders' Super Rugby Semi-final qualifier against the Reds on Saturday and New Zealand's Glen Jackson will be in charge of the Brumbies' semi-final qualifier against the Cheetahs on Sunday.
Bray has played down the fact that the referees were neutral and said,"That's not completely deliberate (neutral referees), it's as much based on the games, we look at the right fit for the game with each referee.
"At this point that you could throw a blanket over the likes of four referees who are all in line to do the final, which is the case this year. That's a good place to be.
"We made a decision around which referee would best handle each game and that's just how it fell as it turns out.
"We think we have a very good fit for both games and two referees who have had very consistent form throughout the whole competition."
Super Rugby Qualifier A
Match : Crusaders vs Reds
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Television match official: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Super Rugby Qualifier B
Match : Brumbies vs Cheetahs
Venue : Canberra Stadium, Canberra, Australia
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
Television match official: Matt Goddard (Australia)