Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe says rugby union should look
at introducing two referees to help sort out problem areas in
the game such as scrums and the breakdown.
Sharpe, who is preparing for tomorrow's clash against Italy
in Florence, believes an extra on-field official could help
clean the game up.
"I don't know how you'd do it. I haven't got the exact
answers but it would be great to have someone to look at the
intricate parts of the game around breakdowns and
scrummaging. The other referee could then monitor the other
parts of the game," he said.
"I just think there's so much going on in rugby union.
There's so many grey areas ... I don't know where the guys
(refs) would stand but I think it would really help the
The 34-year-old, who will retire from rugby after the Test
against Wales next weekend, has great admiration for
officials and what they do.
"I'd hate to be a referee. There's so much to look at.
Tacklers, attacking players and the offside line ... there's
so much going on. Maybe two referees could help."
South Africa's Lourens van der Merwe will referee the match
in Florence in just his third Test and he should be kept busy
with the Italians expected to hide the ball in scrums, rucks
"We played Italy here two years ago. Whenever they had a
scrum feed within our halfway they just left the ball at the
No.8's feet until someone yielded. They try to draw penalties
that way," Sharpe said.
"It's the same with their mauling. There's no doubt they'll
come with an attitude there and so we've prepared as well as
we can for those things."
Italy are coming off a 42-10 loss to New Zealand in Rome last
Saturday with the home side trailing by just 23-10 with 13
minutes remaining before the All Blacks crossed for three
"I heard a quote from Conrad Smith (All Blacks centre) saying
that was the hardest Test New Zealand have played all year.
That's a fair statement and an indication of how tough it's
going to be," he said.
Meanwhile replacement hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has been
withdrawn from the Italy Test with his spot on the bench
taken by James Hanson.
Polota-Nau is believed to be nursing a few bruises after the
In other Wallabies news, reserve lock Rob Simmons's appeal
over an eight-week ban he copped against France two weeks ago
will be heard in Bristol on Tuesday.