Referee speaks out

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 16:00 07/08/2012

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Rugby Southland referee Gareth Scott has defended his performance in Saturday’s Highlanders first 15 game between Southland Boys’ High School and Waitaki Boys’.

Scott came under criticism after a late try by the Oamaru-based school knocked Southland Boys’ out of the running for a place in the competition final.

A former Southland Boys’ pupil, Scott said he stood by his actions and had completed a referee abuse report — his first of the season — against Boys’ High coaches Marty Smith and Jason Dermody following the game.

Scott, who has been refereeing for 14 years, said he was in good position to see and award the try which allowed Waitaki to win 23-20.

The try was scored six minutes into injury time, but four of those minutes were for penalties, he said.

A drop goal by Waitaki, which would have seen the game end 20-19 to Southland Boys’, might have gone over but Scott had moved under the crossbar as the visitors pressed towards the goal line and was unsighted.

When he didn’t get any feedback on the attempt from his assistant referees he went ahead with the penalty advantage he had been playing and Waitaki eventually scored the controversial try.

Scott said he had no concerns about the way the penalty count played out. ‘‘If anything I was a little bit lenient at the ruck but I was consistent with both sides. I could have blown a few more penalties but I was trying to get a flowing game going.’’

Scott said as a mentor to junior referees — he is in charge of recruitment and development — it was important he made a stand against referee abuse. At halftime he had approached the Boys’ High coaches and warned them they would be ejected from the game if their abuse from the sideline continued.

Rugby Southland referees boss Keith Crothers confirmed a referee abuse report had been received and would be considered.

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- The Southland Times

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