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Referee handles tense situation with Springbok Bongi Mbonambi with exceptional communication

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Saturday Mar 2, 2024

The Hollywoodbets Sharks have endured a torrid season to date with just a single win through the opening ten rounds seeing them rooted to the bottom of the URC table.

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Despite being staked to the gills with Springbok players, things just haven’t quite clicked for the Durban-based side as of yet.

Currently trailing rivals the Emirates Lions 19 – 10 in their round eleven clash, the desperation to get a win is evident on the Sharks players.

Leading from the front is Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi who is captaining the side in today’s fixture.

Handling proceedings with the whistle is referee Aimee Barrett-Theron, who in February received plaudits for the way in which she handled the firey U20 Six Nations clash between England and Wales.

Referee commended for strong stance in England vs Wales match

Dealing with a group of younger players is one thing, but dealing with a double World Cup-winning Springbok is another.

Displaying her trademark calm demeanour, Barrett-Theron brilliantly handled a clearly frustrated Mbonambi in what looked to be an escalating situation.

Overturning what was initially believed to be a Sharks try and awarding the Lions a penalty, the 36-year-old ref and the Sharks skipper entered a spirited debate about the incident.

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Following a clear explanation of the incident to the Lions, Barrett-Theron was approached by Bongi for answers.

Starting the conversation following what had previously been a lengthy discussion with the hooker, Barrett-Theron said, “Bongi, can you walk with me please, this way.” before delving into the way the game was unfolding.

“Bongi may I speak please, listen I fully respect you and who you are and I am well aware that all of your players have probably played more games than I have refereed in the URC.

“But we are on the same field so if you could show me the same respect that I show you, that would be very much appreciated.”

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Responding, Mbonambi said, “They are look to be for answers so was it foul play?” to which Barrett-Theron responded, “Yes that was foul play.”

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