Monday 26 January 2015

Penney: Owens must 'get game face on' ahead of Toulouse clash

Published 02/04/2014 | 02:30

1 April 2014; Munster head coach Rob Penney during a press conference ahead of their side's Heineken Cup Quarter-Final game against Toulouse on Saturday. Munster Rugby Press Conference, Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Munster coach Rob Penney fired a warning to referee Nigel Owens to 'get his game face on' ahead of his side's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Toulouse on Saturday

Munster coach Rob Penney wants referee Nigel Owens to "get his game face on" as they continue to seethe at the 'ref' injustice that they feel did not reward their scrum dominance against Leinster last weekend.

However, as Munster prepare to face a "behemoth" Toulouse pack in this Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final, he is unsure about whether to broach his scrum concerns with the world's best referee. "It worries me because sometimes you have a coffee and you think it's very open and legitimate and you try to highlight areas in which you think are going to be of contention," said Penney, who still hopes to have captain Peter O'Mahony fit for duty.

"Those areas crop up and you don't get your reward and you think, 'Jeez maybe I shouldn't have highlighted that because he's gone the other way'. They're humans who just try to do their best."

Penney stopped short of calling for referees to be dropped as the fallout continues from last weekend's defeat to Leinster.

Munster were aggrieved at how the scrum was refereed by Alain Rolland as they felt they had the superior pack but Penney has much wider concerns.

"I'd love to think that we could all work together to get the growth required," he said. "I know we put a lot of effort into referees' reports and we have what I hope is good feedback going back to them.

"You'd love to think that was all being passed on to the referees and was being discussed deeply, because we do put the effort in. But I do query whether there's been the in-depth support or education for the referees when they're busy men themselves.

"Errors will occur and everyone will live with that because of the complexity of the game but I think there's room for growth."

Penney revealed that he has heard that some referees' reports, compiled regardless of whether teams are complimentary, often remain unread.

"I've asked a couple of referees, not from Ireland, but other countries, 'Have you seen the reports we've sent?' and they've said no. So that's an issue in itself. It's a shame."

A final decision will be made on O'Mahony's fitness tomorrow but Donnacha Ryan will miss out. Damian Varley and Keith Earls are training lightly but they will be fit.

Irish Independent

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