The Super Rugby captain's challenge is dead. Long live its demise.
The opportunity for the skipper to debate a decision was another layer of unnecessary interference.
I'm relieved that the utter punishment of the ill-advised, unloved and time-consuming option is being laid to rest. If this bastard child of meddling officialdom and over-zealous bureaucracy is to be dug up and reanimated, the game will be poorer for it. The 'innovation' was the latest in a long line of hair brained variations that have plagued rugby since the stench of cash permeated the game.
Our obsession with creating clarity of decision through the fog of war is slowly but surely collapsing the beauty of a very human exchange, by removing the human state from it.
The game is a celebration of imperfection, ruled only by reality perception during a singular time and space, yet the ruling bodies are hell bent on wringing that reality out the game.
It is a high speed, extraordinarily physical exchange littered with ambiguity that when isolated and intensely examined, destroys the free expression of competition.
The game is far from perfect; the players even more so. The referees fall somewhere in the middle.
The game should be about entertainment – broad brush strokes of high octane joy. Sitting in the stands in a constant state of spectating flux isn't entertaining. It's frustrating.
Sitting in front of the television, being brow beaten with the cosh of replays isn't the way to capture and hold an audience.
The argument around doing justice to the players by having every decision up for critical, multi-angle, multi-person debate misses the value of flow. The joy of rhythm. In realty, the correct decision is rarely come to anyway, as the minutiae becomes the wood that can't be seen for the trees.
The best refs understand the concept of interpretation, as do the players.
I'd hazard a guess that on balance, the calls made by the referees are more or less correct. The time chewed through and spat out under the guise of exacting standards is far more damaging to the product than the odd debatable call. Yes we want the right call, but at what cost? How many times has the fine tooth comb revealed a wrong decision in the wash up anyway. I'll take speed and continuity over the crapshoot of over resourced TMOs every time.
The captain's challenge exacerbated what was already a molar removing process.
It's a human game, played by humans, for the enjoyment of humans. The relentless drive to attain the near impossible standard of complete perfection is leaving rugby starved of oxygen.
The removal of the challenge will allow the game to breathe easier.
Rugby is refereed to a basic tenet, one that is held sacred from ripper rugby up: the referee is the sole judge of fact and of law.
The captain can stay out of it.