Wednesday 16 October 2019

World Rugby admitted that referee got three penalties wrong in Saturday's shock loss to Japan - Joe Schmidt

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and referee Angus Gardner ahead of the japan clash
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and referee Angus Gardner ahead of the japan clash

Ruaidhri O'Connor in Kobe

Ireland have received confirmation from World Rugby that referee Angus Gardner got three key penalty decisions wrong in their shock defeat to Japan last Saturday according to Joe Schmidt.

The head coach, who was keen to reiterate his praise for the hosts after naming his team for Thursday's clash with Russia, voiced his concern about the Australian official in the build-up to last weekend's game and, as is the norm, submitted a detailed dossier on the refereeing in the aftermath.

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Ireland were particularly frustrated by Japan coming in from the side at the breakdown and cleaning deep to set the defensive line back further.

But the coach said the defeat was his team's own responsibility as they let a commanding first quarter position slip in Shizuoka.

"I think I mentioned earlier that we certainly learned that we're capable. In that first 20 minutes, to go 12-3 up, we demonstrated that," he said.

"We did put ourselves on the back foot and partly went onto the back foot.

"We were penalised for offside four times and we've now got the feedback that three of those were incorrect calls. People were asking us about our discipline.

"It's pretty hard to keep getting off the line and onto the front foot when you are getting those calls. Two of them were from an Assistant Referee (Jerome Garces) who is going to be refereeing us on Thursday, so we know we're going to have to be on our best behaviour.

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"One thing I would say about this team is that they try to go out and deliver and, generally speaking, it's unusual for us to have a higher penalty count than our opponents.

"So it's frustrating that in the first two games…. I thought Wayne [Barnes] did a super job (in Ireland v Scotland).

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"I know that, to a degree, Scotland were happy with how Wayne went in the first game as well. That's our fault if we were on the wrong side of the penalty count there but I do think we've got to try to look after that as best we can.

"We've got to make sure that we don't become passive in a game to an opposition that are playing in front of their home crowd. You'd have to be really impressed with the way that they got themselves back into the game.

"If it wasn't us that lost the game, I'd say, 'Wow, that's fantastic for the tournament.' Everywhere we've gone, the Japanese people have been incredibly excited about the game.

"They're delighted with us, obviously, and I think loads of interest has been spiked by that."

Schmidt picked Johnny Sexton to start as captain for the first time, while Jordi Murphy comes into the team right away at No 8 having arrived in Japan as a replacement for Jack Conan on Sunday.

"He trained unbelievably well today. He is straight off the flight, he got in late Sunday so he's at least had a couple of nights. He was feeling good yesterday," Schmidt said of the Ulster back-row.

"One of the things is that a 7.15pm (local) game so that's around midday in Irish terms so he doesn't have to recalibrate himself too much to get out and play the game, hopefully.

"We'll give him the weekend then after that. So we are just asking for him to do the best he can for us. The one thing with Jordi is that you seldom get anything other than that.

"He's a really good performer for us and we'd have a lot of confidence about him being able to slot straight in.

"We do need to make sure everyone is ready and involved as much as possible, to get everyone up to speed.

"It's pretty tough with a six-day and then a five-day turnaround there's always going to be a bit of attrition.

"We're looking to freshen it up and give guys an opportunity. It's great because we've got some guys who would have been very, very keen to be involved who will get an opportunity on Thursday."

Robbie Henshaw remains with the squad and could make his comeback from a hamstring injury against Samoa on Saturday week.

In his and the concussed Chris Farrell's absence, Garry Ringrose is tasked with starting his third World Cup match in 12 days.

Schmidt admitted it is a risk, but heaped praise on his young centre who has been one of Ireland's star attractions at this tournament.

"It's a risk but he is feeling great, and he's playing super," Schmidt said.

"I thought Garry was really good last weekend, he was one of the guys who didn't really miss a beat.

"He was still working really hard, creating opportunity.

"He moved into 12 we had Jordan Larmour at 13 who's really a back-three player for us, we had Luke McGrath on the wing and we were chasing the game, and that's a fairly tough situation to be in.

"Sometimes because you're limited to 23 players it happens like that.

"Robbie is on the cusp of being available, and if we'd put him back in this week, which we'd thought about, we felt that was a risk we don't need to take because Garry's feeling good.

"We can put Robbie in maybe next week, and at the same time we've got Bundee back, and he's got a fair bit of bounce about him.

"With Chris Farrell suffering a concussion and it being a five-day turnaround, our hands are tied there, and we want to make sure we look after Chris as well and that's part of the formula.

"We thought about potentially moving Keith Earls there, but then we'd have had to keep Jacob Stockdale ticking over, and so it was really based around who was still feeling really good.

"Bundee and Garry have a really good midfield relationship so it works out hopefully that that will still be productive for us."

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