Super Rugby

Crusaders call for neutral referees in Super Rugby



Super rugby Aotearoa : Home | SR Aotearoa Fixtures | Super rugby AU : Home | SR AU Fixtures |


Crusaders assistant coach and former All Black prop Dave Hewett has called for SANZAAR to bring back neutral referees in Super Rugby.

Hewett’s referee call comes a day after the Crusaders beat the Lions 37-43 in Johannesburg in a match which all of the match officials were South African.

Hewett is not alone in calling for neutral referees as coaches and fans from all sides have joined the chorus for SANZAAR to bring back neutral match officials.

The match referee Stuart Berry awarded the Lions 13 penalties against the Crusaders who were awarded just six penalties against the Lions.

Several of Berry’s decisions left the Crusaders puzzled but Lions fans claimed on social media that Berry is “so scared of being accused of being biased he blows totally against SA teams”.

Fans from the Lions and the Crusaders were not happy with Berry’s performance claiming bias and Hewett said that neutral referees would do away with the perception of a local referee favouring a local side.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB‘s Tony Veitch Hewett was asked if the situation had gotten to the point where Sanzaar have to look at going back to neutral referees.

“That’s a really important thing,” he said.

“The problem that you have is when you get a referee from the city you’re playing in, there’s a massive crowd influence that comes in.

“They do affect it, it does happen. So neutral referees would take that out of any discussions post-match essentially,” Hewett said.

Hewett said that visiting teams had some to accept that when in South Africa you have to allow a “margin for error” from home referees.

“It’s something that is frustrating from a coaching point of view and can have a massive influence on the game.”

The Crusaders lost their opening match to the Chiefs but have since gone unbeaten and are on a four match winning streak with the Force in Perth ahead next week.

Recommended for you


  1. Brian

    3rd April 2016 at 3:04 am

    That has to be the joke of the year,given the way South African sides are treated in Win at ALL costs New Zealand & Australia.A lot of the decisions down under are exactly that.Underhand & VERY biased,including the citing penalties handed out to S.A. players.Get Neutral Refs,just NOT from France.

    • Johann Fenske

      3rd April 2016 at 10:28 am

      I agree Brian. It happens in Aus and NZ as well, its unfair to single out South Africa. Dont forget Rohan Hoffman’s shockingly biased refereeing against South African teams in previous seasons! And yet he is still on the refereeing team this year????

  2. Don Mead

    3rd April 2016 at 1:15 pm

    The match Official’s in the Lions and Crusaders match was farcical all of them were from S.A. and it showed in the one sided penalty count and in some of the referees calls.Bring back neutral refs.the fans deserve better instead of some of the bs referring we have seen.

  3. Jayantha Dissanayaka

    4th April 2016 at 9:47 am

    There was an incident where the player SA said that he dropped ball over try line.But the SA officials and the TMO went on to award the try. The player was supprised himself and was laughing at the decision

  4. Brian

    4th April 2016 at 11:39 am

    All round the reffing is very poor.The number of forward passes,playing players off the ball,players off sides & the breakdown being left up to the refs interpretation,makes the refs job very difficult to judge.I can not understand how a player can interfere with the opposition beyond the point of breakdown.The Crusaders & Chiefs are guilty of this,but seem to get away with this all the time.No wonder they get penalised more than other teams.The STANDARD of Reffing needs to improve everywhere.The RULES do make their job much more difficult.

    • Don

      4th April 2016 at 1:42 pm

      100% agree

  5. Don

    4th April 2016 at 1:41 pm

    I agree, however singling out one country is ridiculous. For a kiwi team to moan about decisions not going there way is hilarious. They are the guys constantly pushing the boundaries of the game (hence being the best national team in the world), requiring constant law amends etc. etc. making it difficult for refs to keep up. Yes there were 3 refs from 1 country, although I am sure this has happened before. Dodgy TMO calls? Are they having a laugh? I would have expected more from a NZ team in terms of ref blaming, especially after they won the game. @Brian, 100% agree on the French refs, zero spirit of the game in law interpretation. SA has some shockers, as do NZ and Oz, but France take the cake in every game I watch, literally rely on the TMO for 50 – 70% of the decisions. Anyway, this will be an issue regardless of where refs come from. Don’t get me started on Kiwi game commentary haha (jokes)

  6. Paul Bailey

    24th April 2016 at 6:16 am

    I’m not saying that South African referees are better or worse than those from other countries, but I am saying that, as a fan of rugby, there is currently no point watching a rugby match played between a South African team and a visiting team in South Africa. It has gotten so bad that it is literally 15 on 16. Combined with the home field advantage, it is very difficult for any visiting team to win in South Africa. And the proof shows in the poor performance of South African Super 18 teams away from home. Once they are away from their home ground and home referee advantages, they are rubbish.

  7. Don Mead

    24th April 2016 at 11:27 am

    Watching a game being played in SA between a South African team and a visiting team is farcical all the Officials are South African and they are so biased it’s beyond a joke,its got to the point that it’s not worth watching when is Sanzaar going to get their act together and bring back neutral refs in all of the games and let the fans have a fair go!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.