Monday 16 September 2019

Eddie Jones: I will never go to another referees' meeting in my life, they are a waste of time

England coach Eddie Jones
England coach Eddie Jones

Mick Cleary

Eddie Jones is so disenchanted by the refereeing inconsistencies that surrounded Sam Underhill’s potentially match-winning disallowed try against New Zealand last Saturday that he has pledged that he will not attend meetings with referees ever again.

French referee, Jerome Garces, allowed himself to be overruled by Television Match Official, Marius Jonker, even though World Rugby had issued an edict only two days earlier stressing that referees should take the initiative in such situations and trust their initial judgement.

Jonker, however, pointed out that there had been what he considered to be a marginal offside committed by Courtney Lawes back around the 10-metre line prior to the Northampton forward charging down All Black scrum-half, TJ Perenara, an action that enabled Underhill to latch on to the ball and race 40 metres to the line. Garces was only a metre or two from that sequence of play with an unimpeded view of the ruck.

Jones has been involved in several World Rugby workshops to decide on law amendments and recommendations. It is customary, too, for coaches to meet with a referee on the eve of the game to run through various situations. Jones was asked on Tuesday if he would be checking the precise TMO protocols with the match officials for Saturday’s game against Japan at Twickenham.

“I don’t think I’ll go to another referees’ meeting in my life, it’s a waste of time” said Jones who was torn between venting his feelings and not coming across as a sore loser. His main complaint was that procedures are not adhered to. Jones insisted that he would be quite happy to accept the rub of the green in matches, the lottery of decisions as used to happen, but that such situations were no longer supposed to occur.

“The referees have a tough job, tough decisions to make and all we want in rugby is consistency in decision-making,” said Jones. “If we have policies then we have to follow them. If we don't follow them, then what is the point in being involved in those policies and decision-making?

“I would rather just accept it and get on with it. Smile at the end of the game if it doesn't go our way, know that if it does go our way one time, it won’t the next time. That's the way it goes, you either get the rub of the green or you don't. I don't have any sour grapes at all about the game. You win some you lose some and get on with it. But there is something wrong somewhere.”

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