Surprise change to the match officials originally assigned to Lions vs Bulls Super Rugby encounter

The DHL Stormers captain Siya Kolisi (C) has a chat with match referee Egon Seconds during a Super Rugby match against the Emirates Lions at Newlands in Cape Town on February 23 2019.
The DHL Stormers captain Siya Kolisi (C) has a chat with match referee Egon Seconds during a Super Rugby match against the Emirates Lions at Newlands in Cape Town on February 23 2019.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Egon Seconds and his fellow miscreants who officiated last Saturday’s Super Rugby clash between the Stormers and the Lions‚ have been yanked from the match they were originally assigned to for this weekend.

SowetanLIVE has reliably been informed that Seconds‚ assistant referee Divan Uys and television match official (TMO) Christie du Preez‚ who were all involved in highly contentious decisions in the match won by the Stormers‚ were supposed to do duty in the Lions’ match against the Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Instead they are now required to report for duty in Durban where the Sharks take on the Stormers.

Insiders in refereeing circles have revealed that the trio had been reassigned following last weekend’s match in the Cape Town which the Stormers won under controversial circumstances.

Whether the Lions requested their removal from the match roster for Saturday’s derby at Ellis Park isn’t clear.

SA Rugby’s referees performance manager Mark Lawrence wasn’t available for comment.

Two sources independently confirmed the changes to the list of appointments for this weekend. Both declined to be named for fear of victimisation.

Seconds and Co’s redeployment to Durban means the match officials originally listed for that match under Kiwi referee Paul Williams‚ will now do duty at Ellis Park.

Jaco Peyper‚ who was supposed to have a breather this weekend‚ will now take charge of the match in Durban with Seconds and Uys acting as assistant referees.

Some questioned Seconds’ appointment to last week’s match at Newlands.

He had represented Western Province and the Stormers from 2001 to 2007 and although that should not preclude him from taking charge of Stormers’ match‚ the circumstances need to be weighed up carefully.

Last season he came in for heavy criticism for this handling of Western Province’s narrow Currie Cup semi-final defeat of the Blue Bulls at Newlands.

If he came into last weekend’s game under a cloud‚ the appointment of the Cape based Uys‚ Aimee Barrett-Theron (both in their first Super Rugby matches) as well as Du Preez‚ would have done little to ease the situation.

“How can they throw Egon into a situation like that?” one of the sources asked.

“They know his circumstances. There was that Currie Cup semi-final last year as well. He isn’t a bad referee but it doesn’t help when you put people under unnecessary pressure.

“When you put together a group of match officials you can’t have a referee who potentially has some issues‚ two assistant refs who are rookies‚ with a TMO who isn’t sure of himself. That is a group that isn’t going to make bold decisions.”

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