Dublin: World Rugby has issued a written warning to Australia coach Dave Rennie for comments he has apologised for that were critical of the match officials after the Wallabies lost to Wales 29-28.
Wales won with a last-minute penalty last Saturday to consign Australia to a first winless autumn tour of Europe in 45 years.
Dave Rennie has apologised for the comments he made that were critical of match officials.Credit:Getty
Rennie said officials should be held to account for wrong decisions, and he was particularly incensed with South Africa television match official Marius Jonker.
Jonker played a part in Allan Alaalatoa being yellow-carded for a swinging arm that ruled out a Michael Hooper try against Scotland, which went on to win 15-13 on November 7. Rennie said World Rugby later apologised for that decision it ruled as incorrect.
Jonker was back as TMO for the Wales match last weekend, and helped referee Mike Adamson decide a knockdown by Wales centre Nick Tompkins wasn’t deliberate, leading to his try.
Rennie said afterwards: “If we’re going to have a TMO, there’s no excuse for not getting the decision right, and we saw another example of that tonight. Everyone’s accountable – or they should be. We’re accountable as players and coaches, and we’ve got to make sure officials are also accountable.
“Marius’ decision a couple of weeks ago decided the game, and yet he was appointed again. There isn’t any accountability around guys who are making errors that are deciding test matches. The reason the TMO was brought in to the game was to get the right decision.
“After the Scotland game, Marius’ decision to sin-bin Alaalatoa, we were told, was the wrong decision, it wasn’t a yellow card. These are big moments, and getting an apology during the week after is not good enough.”
But public criticism of referees by leading figures isn’t accepted by World Rugby, and Rennie and Rugby Australia accepted the formal warning, and Rennie apologised for “the choice of language and its timing”.
He’s the second major rugby figure in two days to issue an apology after South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and SA Rugby dropped their intention to appeal sanctions against Erasmus for a video in July blasting the match officials during the series against the British and Irish Lions.
Erasmus was a water carrier passing messages to the Springboks during that series and the Rugby Championship.
World Rugby said it was reviewing communications and the duties of team staff.
“Rugby is a sport that operates on trust and respect, and recent events have unfortunately placed the confidential, trust-based coach-match officials communication and feedback process under pressure,” it said in a statement on Friday.
“World Rugby, with the full support of its executive committee and the wider game, is fully committed to reinforcing an environment that supports and protects match officials, while providing an appropriate feedback process. To that end, a review of the process is already underway, consulting with match officials, coaches and unions. In addition, the protocols and behaviours relating to team support staff, including water carriers, will be reviewed at the same time.”
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