Cape Town - Former referee Hugh Watkins was left shocked and disappointed after he
was handed a 12-week suspension by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) for comments he
made on Twitter.
VIDEO: Yellow card for Sevens final tip-tackle
According to the ESPN Scrum website, Watkins, who has been officiating for 20 years, handed in his
resignation prior to the WRU hearing and was informed that
as a result of his tweet, he is banned from officiating until September
1, 2013. The tweet related to the recent Hong Kong Sevens final between Wales
and Fiji and a tackle in the first half.
Watkins queried a decision by the referee not to award a red card for
what looked to be a serious tip tackle - Ilai Tinai received a yellow at
the time for the hit on Lee Williams. Watkins tweeted: "Sorry that's a
shocker. Had to be red no other option. We need referees to be
consistent in this".
"I was watching the Sevens in Hong Kong and I made a comment on Twitter
regarding one of the decisions. I said that was a shocker, it should
have been a red. We referees need to be more consistent," Watkins explained. "Unfortunately Paddy O'Brien the IRB Sevens manager took a dislike
Wales and British & Irish Lions prop Adam Jones hit out at the Welsh Rugby Union after the decision to suspend Watkins, tweeting: "Maybe If
the WRU worried about themselves and the regions sorting their crap out
and not banning a ref for tweeting we may get somewhere!"