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SA journalist calls for referee to be banned from Test rugby for life

By Ian Cameron
Referee Paul Williams and Siya Kolisi /PA

A South African rugby journalist is calling for referee Paul Williams to be banned from officiating a Test match again following the Springboks’ loss to Australia in Adelaide on Saturday.

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James Richardson of the South African threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the New Zealand official, branding him ‘diabolical’, ‘incompetent’ and potentially biased.

The Boks’ 25-17 defeat at the hands of Dave Rennie’s Wallabies wasn’t without its controversies. South African scrumhalf Faf de Klerk was yellow carded after his hands brushed across Nic White’s face, a questionable Marika Koroibete tackle on Duane Vermeulen went unpunished, while a two-man tackle on Makazole Mapimpi was also questioned.

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Richardson branded Williams’ performance as ‘either criminally incompetent or evidence of bias’ in angry op-ed on the website.

“Marike Koroibete should have been carded for the flying shoulder charge that denied Makazole Mapimpi a try.

“Perhaps the worst incident in the first half was one that brings shame onto the game of rugby.

“Williams bought into play-acting from Australia scrumhalf Nic White whose actions have no place in the sport at all.”

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He then claimed that both Williams and White “bring the game into disrepute”.

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Richardson then went on to claim that the official should be banished to the ‘bush leagues’ for the rest of his whistling career.

“Williams’ diabolical decision-making robbed the Springboks of momentum and points and changed the nature of the game.

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“This referee has no place taking charge of big games and should be banished to the bush leagues for the rest of his days.”

He isn’t the first South African to blame the Test loss on officialdom. In fact, it’s become something of a pastime in the country where the Springboks’ are never seemingly at fault for their defeats.

Many believe the phenomenon of ref blaming in the Rainbow Nation has been exacerbated by the antics of current Springboks’ director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, who anchored a 62-minute video in 2021 about referee Nic Berry which became public and massively viral during the British & Irish Lions tour.

Erasmus was banned for his part in the fiasco but it hasn’t seen a decrease in the amount of South Africans who look blame Test losses on officials.

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