Monday 22 January 2018

Foley goes on the offensive as Ireland hit out at ref justice

David Kelly

David Kelly

Ireland have stepped up their criticism of referees by taking aim at the performance of Kiwi rookie Chris Pollock in last weekend's Six Nations victory over Scotland.

In a championship where Ireland have been dogged by perceived refereeing injustices, stand-in assistant coach Anthony Foley last night went on the offensive.

"You go to the line-out we lost," blasted Foley, "a clear penalty to us for pushing Jamie Heaslip in the back. Everybody can see it apart from the man standing with whistle in hand, and that cost us three points.

"Then you go to the Tommy Bowe try incident. If he's ruled that he is in the dead-ball area and off the field of play, then it's a scrum to us because he doesn't have to release the ball.

"But if it is deemed he is in the field of play, well then it should be a penalty to us, because he's been tackled and the tackler hasn't released him so he can place the ball. But yet we get penalised.

"I'm not looking for the 50-50 calls, just give us the clear and obvious ones and we'll be happy with that. We don't want to go around with 'victim' written on our forehead but it does get frustrating."

Last week, head coach Declan Kidney met referees' chief Paddy O'Brien after claiming he was "disgusted" after his side had again been heavily penalised in the drawn game with France.

Sean O'Brien is expected to be named in the team to face England at Twickenham on Saturday after missing the Scotland game with a foot infection.

"Sean was in hospital from Monday until the weekend and he probably lost a couple of kilograms," said team manager Mick Kearney. "But he's in good form and he took a full part in training today.

"We're pretty sure he'll be available for selection."

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