Columnists 17.2.2017 09:00 am

Refs did their bit in round two of Six Nations

Jonathan Kaplan. Photo: Gallo Images.

Jonathan Kaplan. Photo: Gallo Images.

In his exclusive column, refereeing icon Jonathan Kaplan celebrates a weekend where the men with the whistle’s weren’t a talking point.

Week two of the Six Nations produced results that went according to the formbook so it wasn’t that difficult to predict the outcome.

I watched all the games and I thought the refereeing was pretty decent.

It clearly hasn’t been the talking point which is good for the game, and “acceptable” errors made on the hoof, have been kept to an absolute minimum.

All three refs last weekend (Jackson, Peyper and Garcez) allowed a flowing contest with the best interests of the game at the forefront.

I’m going to nitpick if I need to be critical so I will leave that for a more opportune time.

Ireland had way too many guns for Italy, who defend quite well, but not when you’re doing it the whole game.

They really don’t have the attack to trouble this year’s competition.

Glen Jackson’s profile in the game certainly appeared to be slanted towards the team with the ball in their possession with occasional rewards for the defenders.

He awarded a not-often-given penalty try for collapsing a maul bound for the tryline just before half-time and I applauded this sanction on Twitter.

I would like to see more consistency from other officials around the world for this aspect of the game.

“Peyps” did well in a tough bruising match, allowing a good contest at the breakdown.

The result wasn’t always pretty, but both teams stayed in the hunt until the final whistle for an absorbing encounter.

He did well to manage the players’ expectations on the field and penalised a retreating Scottish scrum consistently well all day.

Garces had the plum fixture of the weekend, and as I stated in last week’s column, Wales would have their chance to win it.

Ultimately they couldn’t get over the line and succumbed to England’s confidence, swagger and better all-round game.

I thought Jerome allowed the players to decide the outcome in a cauldron that is the Principality Stadium, which is the mark of a referee at the top of his game.

There is one last break this weekend before a hectic weekend to follow, but there are some Top 14 fixtures in which I like three teams quite strongly – La Rochelle over Stade, Pau over Grenoble and Clermont over Bayonne.

I think all three home teams will win comfortably and probably beat the spread as well.

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Jonathan Kaplan is a former international rugby referee who holds the SA record of 70 Test matches, including 18 in the Six Nations.

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