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.”
Jones recently accused the media of increasing the pressure on his job in a press conference rant, saying “you guys want to sack me”.
The win over South Africa certainly eased the pressure on Jones, but England will face a huge test when they come up against the All Blacks this Saturday, 10 November, at 3 pm at Twickenham.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Joseph McBrien)