Saturday 25 February 2017

WATCH: 'I’m a parent and you don’t like to see people on stretchers' - Joe Schmidt and Rory Best refuse to criticise ref

Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Robbie Henshaw of Ireland signals to the crowd as he is taken from the field on a stretcher during the Autumn International match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Robbie Henshaw of Ireland signals to the crowd as he is taken from the field on a stretcher during the Autumn International match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Joe Schmidt and his captain Rory Best have refused to blame referee Jaco Peyper’s performance for Ireland’s defeat to New Zealand.

The South African referee had several questionable calls that went against Ireland while he refused to check with his TMO for New Zealand’s crucial third try that ultimately sealed the victory.

Best had pleaded with Peyper to check Malakai Fekitoa’s 66th minute try but it feel on deaf ears and although Ireland were understandably angered by that, they shouldered the responsibility for not taking their chances when in New Zealand’s 22.

“We’re obviously looking to control what we can control,” Best said.

“I think there were a few times where there was good communication, just other other times maybe not so much.

“Ultimately, from our side of things. We have to make sure that we control those. For example, putting that ball down a couple of metres short on that lineout move.

“That has got nothing to do with the referee. Missing a few clean outs at a few vital times. They’e all stuff that we can control. That we can make it easier for the referee because we just keep the ball there.”

Best also deflected blame from Peyper when explain what happened when he pleaded with him to go to his TMO for the crucial third try.

“Look, we just went up to him and said to take a look at it. He said he can’t go (to TMO) on a captain’s call which I suppose is fair enough,” Best maintained.

“But it was on the big screen. He said he has a team to look at that and that he can’t be influenced too much by the captain. I tried to explain that there was a lot at stake to not take a look.

“Look, they’re a very physical side. We know whenever you sign Kiwis into your club side, they hit and they hit hard.

“Obviously there were a few (dangerous tackles). The first one on Robbie. They deemed that to be head on head and not shoulder on head. You have to try roll with those decisions.

“I’m a parent myself and you don’t like to see people going off on stretchers. That’s something they’re (World Rugby) clamping down on and hopefully they’ll continue to do that.

“He has people upstairs in front of the TV that are watching that and he has to trust them. We’ll leave that to the assessors.

“When you have a big game like that and it was a one score game at that time, we need to feel that we have a chance to get a call on that.”

Schmidt echoed his skipper’s attitude and although he looked visibly annoyed, he admitted that Ireland would go through the appropriate channels when assessing Peyper’s display.

“It’s not for us to make those decisions,” Schmidt insisted

“We’ve got to get on and focus on what we can do better. We’ll feed our feedback through the appropriate channels. They’ll (World Rugby) send out edicts and will try and keep the game safe and make it enjoyable.

“I think the one thing I will say for the players, is that they enjoyed rolling their sleeves up and giving it their best shot. They are fatigued. We’ve got a few guys who won’t be able to play next week, that’s frustrating but at the same time, it will afford another opportunity to someone else.”

Johnny Sexton injured his other hamstring and not the one that has hindered him this season. He will have a scan ahead of next Saturday’s game against Australia but he has not yet been ruled out.

Robbie Henshaw, CJ Stander and Rob Kearney all suffered head knocks and will be monitored.

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