Although the referring at the Rugby World Cup has been awesome in so many ways, there is one glaringly annoying piece of officiating that is ruining some of the games, and the potential for it to ruin some of the bigger games ahead doesn't bear thinking about.
The Australian coach Michael Cheika often comes across as a bit manic and intense, but in this instance I have to absolutely agree with him – the lack of common sense around handling the physical side of the game, and the over officiating of it is embarrassing for our game.
As he said, from a rugby person's point of view, it is absolutely embarrassing, as we try and showcase our sport to the world, to have such physical collisions pulled up and penalised in the way that they are. It isn't meant to be what our game is about.
Rugby has been able to pride itself on the ability to get the balance right between the tough physical aspect of the sport, and at the same time promote respect and sportsmanship and good human qualities – something that almost makes it unique as a sport.
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On one hand many believe the sport of MMA is ridiculous and goes way too far where people are punched in the head on the ground – there used to be a saying that you never hit a man on the ground.
An on the other hand soccer has the reputation of at times showing off the worst side of sportsmanship, with over-paid stars screaming in the faces of referees and rolling around on the ground feigning injuries.
Rugby can be great when it has that balance right, and it is that character of the game that has gained it so much respect in certain corners of the world that hate seeing those other terrible elements of sport.
The players are doing their bit. To maintain their intensity of battle, and yet be disciplined and composed is incredible. The officials need to do their bit too.
Samu Kerevi penalised for raising his forearm into the chest of the rushing Welsh tackler coming in hard for a high ball and all tackle. Kerevi was protecting his face, it's what you do, that call was a joke.
If that was a joke, I don't know what you call the incident that led to the three-week suspension of Cheika's winger Reece Hodge in their previous game against Fiji. If the Kerevi call made you laugh, the Hodge decision was almost enough to cry.
The Fijian flanker Yato swerved back in-field, somewhat wrong-footing Hodge who basically had to brace for the impending big impact. Yato unfortunately slammed his own head into Reece's shoulder. Unlucky, but that happens in rugby. Banning Hodge for that is embarrassing.
It's not just Aussies, there have been many other incidents that have led to prolonged agonising between the officials, slowing down the game and killing off the great tackles in our game.
Our Pacific brothers Samoa were on the farcical end of a few decisions the other night. Motu Matu'u is an awesome tackler that many fans would be coming to the match, and tuning in from all around the world, hoping they can see a couple of his classic hits. Well he delivered one the other night, only to be yellow carded, basically for tackling too hard – embarrassing.
Those tackles are the very brand and strength that Pacific rugby has been built on, we can't take that away.
We know the concern from the games governing body around head knocks, but the trouble is they often seem compelled to follow the decision process like a robot. As you read this bit, say it in your head with a robot accent "Shoulder has made contact with the head. Therefore I have no option. Yellow Card."
It seems all the refs have 'no option', unless you are the Welsh ref Nigel Owens – he is so damn good he is be able to make his own judgment calls, using common sense.
I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't like the big tackles. The players don't mind, coaches don't, fans, everyone – so why have we gone so soft.
Aside from this one element, I have to say the refereeing has been great, the Japan v Ireland game for example; long flowing phases of play, refs not chatting away to the players explaining their decision, just getting on with it - brilliant. It's just this physical stuff, so Cheika is right, and a shame more of the other coaches aren't saying what they really think.
The other coaches just want to keep onside with the refs.
The USA player binned was absolutely fair enough, the key point is he lined up the England player, and folded the arm of his lead shoulder in front of his body, aiming to smash him with a high and hard hit – quite different to most of the other scenarios.
It just needs common sense, and only use the high tackle framework as a guide, not as a "I must follow. I am a robot".
Heaven forbid the robot process comes up in the World Cup Final. Let's just hope Wales doesn't make it that far, so then we can have Nigel Owens control the game. Sorry Wales, but fingers crossed.
- Marcus Agnew is the health and sport development manager at Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust and a lecturer in sports science at EIT.