Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

South Africa rugby chief wants crack down on 'hot-headed thugs'

By Chris Jones
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 10: Springbok supporter Pieter Van Zyl is removed from the field by officials after assaulting Irish referee David McHugh during the All Blacks 3023 win over the Springboks in the TriNations rugby match at ABSA Kings Park Stadium, Durban, Saturday.. (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)

South Africa Rugby president Mark Alexander is writing to all 15 member unions demanding a crack down on “hot-headed thugs” who physically or verbally abuse match officials by banning them for life.


It follows a second incident involving the assault of a referee in the Eastern Province region of the country.

As a result, Alexander wants disciplinary panels to take immediate action when an issue arises and throw those guilty out of the sport. He told South African media: “These hot-headed thugs who physically assault officials have no place in the sport and should be banned for life from participating or attending.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

“We must protect our match officials – without whom there would be no sport – and the message must out go out in the strongest possible terms that such actions will not be tolerated.

“Attacks on referees are rare but when they occur provinces must not hesitate to act.


“These attacks have been condemned by the relevant unions and I trust they will follow through by bringing these matters before disciplinary committees. I shall be repeating our message of ‘zero tolerance’ for such behaviour with our members.

“There can be no sympathy or toleration of the assailants. There is no reason at all why anyone involved should lay a hand on a match official. If it does not happen in the most pressured environment of Test rugby, why should it happen at a club match? It must be clamped down on most severely.”


Join free



Trending on RugbyPass


Blair 414 days ago

This is the result of Rassie and the SA media criticising the referees for every springbok loss. If the SA rugby leadership doesn’t show any respect towards the match officials why do they expect their players to do the same?
If the springboks lose this WC it’ll be the refs fault, not the teams

Load More Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

Shaylen 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

39 Go to comments
Jon 11 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

39 Go to comments
TRENDING Ciaran Frawley's career now hanging 'in the balance' Ciaran Frawley's career now hanging in the balance claims Ireland star