08 Nov 2018
England coach Eddie Jones believes the introduction of a second referee could be Rugby Union's answer to dealing with the increasing intensity of the game.
A much-needed win for the under-pressure Jones over South Africa on Saturday ended in controversy when Owen Farrell's injury-time tackle on Andre Esterhuizen was referred to the television match official by referee Angus Gardner.
Eventually, Gardner decided against awarding the Springboks a kickable penalty that allowed England to hold on for a 12-11 victory.
"I just think the game is getting more intense. All the data shows that," Jones said.
"The game went for 100 minutes on the weekend with 39 minutes of ball in play. So there was 61 minutes where the players could recover, adding to the intensity of the hits, the quickness of the contact.
"We are asking one referee to do it the way they did it when blokes like me were playing - jogging round the field basically. And he's still doing the same job.
"So I think the referees are doing a great job. At some stage in the future, probably not in my time, they may have to look at two referees on the field. They do it in rugby league in Australia."
This is not a novel idea. It has been tried in South Africa frequently, especially at Stellenbosch University, a great law laboratory. Demonstrations were done for the International Rugby Board, as World Rugby then was, at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa with top referees such as Freek Burger and Wynand Mans in action, but nothing came of it.
Many are convinced it works, producing fewer penalties, more "ball in play" time and more acceptable decisions as well as less stress for referees.