‘Sanzaar too soft on guilty Gold’

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Gold was fined A$15 000 (about R170 000) by governing body Sanzaar for approaching and using crude and abusive language - charges to which he pleaded guilty - towards TMO Johan Greeff on two occasions during the Sharks’ 19-14 defeat to the Crusaders at Kings Park in Durban on March 26.

The incidents, in the 65th and 71st minutes, led to two tries for the Crusaders and a disallowed try for the Sharks.

Former New Zealand referee Bob Francis, who was rated as the best in the world in the 1980s, feels that Sanzaar were too soft on Gold and should have consulted World Rugby on the matter.

“World Rugby have intervened in some extreme cases lately and I think this is a question that probably should have been asked of them,” Francis told New Zealand website stuff.co.nz

“Should they have stepped in over the top of Sanzaar in a case like this? It’s an absolute disgrace and deserves a severe response from Sanzaar.

“This (the Gold incident) is right at the top-end. The TMO’s box is out of bounds for coaches and if that has been compromised, then I think we have a major problem.

“This would be a first (a coach going into the TMO’s box) in my knowledge for world rugby and a step too far really. A fine is hardly a reasonable penalty… It’s a pretty soft response. I don’t think it is good enough.”

Well-known New Zealand rugby writer Wynne Gray also weighed in on the matter in a column for the New Zealand Herald newspaper, saying that Gold should’ve been suspended from duty.

“Sanzaar’s response has been tame. That censure is just as docile as Sanzaar’s response last year when Waratahs coach Michael Cheika was warned after he spoke to referee Jaco Peyper during the halftime break. That caution came while Cheika was on a suspended six-month ban for abusing a camera operator during a match.

“Gold approached the TMO twice and in any sporting language that is intolerable. With his language and actions, Gold was trying to influence an official or persuade him to alter his decisions.

“That’s a red card and Gold should be removed from his duties for some time. Ban him for a month to let him think over the situation if the roles were reversed. How would Gold respond if the TMO came into the coach’s box during a game to challenge and abused him about the Sharks’ performance?”

But The Mercury newspaper in Durban reported that there was a ‘history’ between Gold and Greeff that sparked the outburst.

Last year during a Super Rugby game between the Sharks and the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, Greeff - who was last year’s chairman of the Blue Bulls Referees Association - made “two clear blunders” that cost the Sharks victory. And that time, he didn’t voice his concern about the decisions.

But this time around, the newspaper reported that Gold had apparently used words such as “incompetent” and “cheat” in the same sentence to Greeff during the Crusaders game this year.

Asked at last week’s post-match press conference if he had been happy with Greeff’s decisions, Gold said: “No, I am not.”

African News Agency

Original source: ‘Sanzaar too soft on guilty Gold’

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