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Cheika joins in 'ref bashing'

Sun, 14 Jul 2013 09:39
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Everyone saw it
Quote-end

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has joined some of his colleagues in taking aim at the poor standard of refereeing in Super Rugby.

Cheika, speaking after his team's heartbreaking 12-14 loss in their final league match of the season in Sydney at the weekend, said Super Rugby referees are "over-reacting" to strong tackles and are making the game "soft'.

The Waratahs mentor added that panicky officials were turning the competition into "touch rugby".

His outburst comes in the wake of Blues coach John Kirwan's remarks that referee Chris Pollock be held "accountable" for a red card ruling which he said ruined their Super Rugby match against the Chiefs at the weekend.

Cheika's remarks were aimed at another controversial figure in the refereeing fraternity - Steve Walsh , who was kicked out by the New Zealand Refereeing Society for a number of alcohol-related incidents and then reinvented himself as an Australian match official.

Walsh watched a big-screen replay, before issuing Waratahs hooker John Ulugia a yellow card for a jarring and seemingly legal chest-high tackle on Reds wing Rod Davies.

Cheika compared Walsh's decision to umpire Aleem Dar missing England batsman's Stuart Broad's blatant edge in the first Ashes Test against Australia at Trent Bridge.

"Everyone saw it," Cheika told a media scrum.

"I don't know if it was Aleem Dar proportions, but it was pretty crooked," Cheika added.

"He had a second look as well.

"It was interesting listening to the third umpire, the TMO. He was saying: 'Do you want me to comment, Steve?'

"And he [Walsh] said: 'No, no, no. I'll have another look.'

"So he didn't want him to comment obviously.

"But I think everyone saw he put his arms around him. I don't know whether they should have had a kiss or not while they were in there.

"It's a shame because hardness is going out of the game.

"There's nothing illegal about it. It's a good, hard tackle and that's what we try to get guys to do at training.

"Then in a game, as soon as someone puts in a good shot on, everyone panics. Like, give him the sin bin.

"I don't know, touch footy next year maybe."

Cheika also called for touch judges to have their rights to intervene on offside plays removed, claiming they were too inconsistent.

"I was really disappointed for some of the penalties for offside. They were absolutely wrong,' he said.

"Then, when they [the Reds] are clearly offside at the end right in front of the posts, they don't give it."

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