Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Loe: Whistle blowers need to front up

Referee Rohan Hoffman. Photo / Getty Images
Referee Rohan Hoffman. Photo / Getty Images

It has become a constant theme that a lot of refereeing decisions being made in Super Rugby are fairly average.

The Highlanders game against the Bulls was another example of that. I thought Rohan Hoffman was pretty bloody awful again. He had the Blues the previous week in Canberra where he struggled. It was the same again in Dunedin.

It's not that he favoured one team over the other, it's just he was inconsistent and hard to follow. Players really hate inconsistency. It makes the game hard for them to play and enjoy when the rulings don't make sense or change from one instance to the next.

That's two weeks in a row Mr Hoffman hasn't been particularly good and I wonder if the time has come to make him accountable.

I'm not sure what referees get paid but I would imagine they are on a fairly good wicket and they have to take responsibility for their performances and be accountable.

In that regard, I would like to see them be more assertive.

Too many are referring decisions to the TMO when I think they could make them themselves in conjunction with their touch judges.

The one thing that is really starting to annoy me is this whole business of when a forward pass is forward or a dropped ball a knock-on.

I hear people now - and the South Africans are the worst at this - saying the ball came out of the back of the hand, or that the hands were pointing backwards when the ball was passed.

Excuse me, but that's just nonsense. A forward pass is a forward pass. The ball comes out of the hands and goes forward. Simple.

It's the same with a knock-on. I saw Hoffman rule a few times when Bulls players dropped the ball, that it had gone backwards and to play on. Really? A dropped ball is a knock-on. Simple.

Something clearly needs to be done to speed the game up around scrums and lineouts. I would say a time limit should be in place for teams to set the scrum.

If they are mucking about and take too long ... free kick. Same with the lineouts. The hooker shouldn't be standing with the ball in his hand pretending he can't hear the call all just to milk some extra time.

It's not about finding ways to penalise teams and creating more opportunity for stoppages. It's about having deterrents in place to encourage a speedier game.

- Herald on Sunday

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Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Wyllie Loe was a renowned All Black forward prop who plied his trade for the New Zealand national team between 1987 and 1995. Loe was well known by fans and team mates alike as an ‘enforcer’ on the pitch, a player who balanced his abilities with the ball with a tough-tackling prowess and a penchant for physicality. During an outstanding career Richard Loe represented his country of birth in no less than three World Cups, assisting the All Blacks to a famous victory in 1987. Along with fellow team mate and captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Loe formed one of the most formidable forward lines ever to lead the All Blacks. Despite his sometimes overly physical dominance on the pitch, Loe is regarded by former team mates as being an exceptional character and professional. Following retirement from rugby Loe became a sport columnist for the New Zealand Herald, a position he still holds today.

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