IRB boss takes on ref bashers

Thu, 30 Jan 2014 19:46
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IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset has spoken out against the "increase" in public criticism of referees.

International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset has spoken out against the "increase" in public criticism of referees ahead of the start of this season's Six Nations.

Rugby Union, in common with many sports, has long set great store by respect for match officials.

But in the high stakes professional era it has become increasingly common for officials to find their decisions called into question while some coaches, borrowing a tactic often deployed by former Manchester United football manager Alex Ferguson, try to influence referees publicly in the build-up to a match.

"Rugby values its culture of respect for the opposition and match officials, which is at the very heart of the game," Lapasset said in a statement issued from the IRB's Dublin headquarters.

"But there has been a slow increase in the level and intensity of public criticism of match officials and their performances from coaches and players," the former French Rugby Federation President added.

This month Toulon coach Bernard Laporte labelled referee Laurent Cardona as "hopeless" and "completely incompetent" following the European champions' 22-21 French Top 14 defeat by Grenoble.

Few team chiefs are quite as outspoken regarding referees as former France coach and French government minister Laporte, who faces a domestic league disciplinary hearing next month.

But the likes of Wales and British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland are rarely shy of offering a public opinion rather than relying solely on private IRB channels to communicate their concerns.

The global governing body said they'd reminded national unions that, under their code of conduct, "any published criticism of match officials or comments that demonstrate the potential to bring the game into disrepute will be investigated and addressed by the tournament organiser and, as appropriate, the IRB."

Lapasset added: "Match officials, like players, do make mistakes, but it is important that we work with our unions to ensure that match official performance is discussed within the appropriate and established framework for feedback and appraisal that operates between coaches, match officials and the IRB."

The 2014 edition of the Six Nations, the European game's premier international tournament, starts this weekend.

Defending champions Wales are at home to Italy on Saturday, when France play England in Paris, with Ireland facing Scotland in Dublin on Sunday.

AFP

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 June 2016
Samoa v Tonga 02h00 Apia
United States v Russia 02h00 Sacramento
New Zealand v Wales 07h35 Dunedin
Australia v England 10h00 Sydney
Japan v Scotland 10h30 Nagoya
Italy U20 v Japan U20 11h00 Manchester
Griffons v Free State Cheetahs 12h10 Welkom
Griquas v Sharks 13h00 Kimberley
Georgia U20 v France U20 13h15 Manchester
Argentina U20 v South Africa U20 13h30 Salford
Boland v Namibia 14h00 Wellington
South Africa v Ireland 15h00 Port Elizabeth
Scotland U20 v Wales U20 15h30 Manchester
Australia U20 v New Zealand U20 15h45 Salford
Ireland U20 v England U20 18h00 Salford
Argentina v France 18h10 Buenos Aires
Sun, 26 June 2016
Canada v Italy 16h00 Toronto
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
SIX NATIONS
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Team P W D L Pts
England 5 5 0 132 10
Wales 5 3 1 1 7
Ireland 5 2 1 2 5
Scotland 5 2 0 3 4
France 5 2 0 3 4
Italy 5 0 0 5 0