Sehlako and SharkSmart back ‘safety first’ improvements

Archie Sehlako has added his voice of support to the prioritisation of safety in rugby.

ONE of South Africa’s fast emerging rugby referees Archie Sehlako has added his voice of support to the prioritisation of safety in rugby, especially among junior ranks, echoing the messages the Discovery SharkSmart programme has been promoting for some time.

The International Rugby Board, and therefore South African Rugby Union and KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union too, constantly strive to enhance a referee’s abilities to govern matches as best they can and ensure players compete both within the spirit and rules of the game.

The sport’s global body also always seeks to create an appealing and attractive final product that can be enjoyed by millions around the world while keeping safety, particularly at age group level, a top priority.

With this in mind, the scrum – a significant time consumer and high injury contributor to the game previously – has received particular attention in recent years and Sehlako is happy to have seen how the changes introduced in 2013 have already proven successful.

“With the changes that came about at scrum time last season saw the number of scrum penalties significantly reduced and far less collapsed scrums occurring,” said the SARU National Panel referee and KZNRU’s referee and BokSmart coordinator.

“Scrum resets are one of the biggest time wasters in the game so it’s been great to see these reduced and the safety of players, particularly in the front row, always needs to be kept a top priority. With less collapsed scrums there is also a greatly reduced chance of players getting injured in a scrum and so I’m sure many parents are also a lot happier,” he added.

Having already taken charge of a handful of FNB Varsity Shield matches which have utilized the new interpretations, Sehlako has also voiced his support of the recently introduced ‘gripping patches’ on props jerseys and hopes to see the concept introduced at all levels in the near future to further improve players’ safety at scrum time.

“The added grip, the binding spot on the Varsity Cup and Shield’s props’ jerseys has made a big difference. It really helps props with their bind, so there have been less instances of genuine slips due to a lack of grip, but they help give the referee a really good idea of who is at fault should a scrum be unsuccessful as well. I hope the idea will be introduced at all levels, right from international games down to age group rugby,” he said.

Sehlako, in conjunction with the SharkSmart programme, recently hosted a workshop for KZN's high school coaches on the alterations to certain laws and interpretations.

Those in attendance were taken through the mental check list referees are encouraged to systematically work at every scrum and stressed the importance of ensuring all is correct at each phase before moving on to the next.


Related Articles

Back to top button