Rugby Championship

Mehrtens labels refs muppets

2014-09-09 14:11
Andrew Mehrtens (AFP)
Cape Town - Former All Black flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens has lashed out at the standard of refereeing in international rugby.

This past weekend's Rugby Championship action, where Australia beat South Africa 24-23 in Perth and New Zealand overcame Argentina 28-9 in Napier, was blighted by controversial refereeing decisions.

Ireland's George Clancy and Frenchman Pascal Gauzere were heavily criticised in the media for making some blatant errors which proved costly for the losing teams.

Mehrtens, via a column on the Stuff.co.nz website, analysed the New Zealand-Argentina game and weighed in on the issue of poor officials in the current international game.

He wrote: "When there was so much positive to come from the two Tests at the weekend and with the Wellington Test holding all sorts of intrigue, I'm sorry to start this week's column with a bleat. But I can't help myself.

"Why, of all the major sports around the world, does our game have the worst standard of international refereeing? And by a long shot.

"OK, I accept that rugby is a complicated game with a lot of rules, and a lot to watch. But where are the referees with a feel for the game?

"It's been an axe I've been grinding for years. But that's because there is so much to improve. Surely, the best time to criticise is after a victory, so here goes...

"How on earth did those two muppets (sorry, match officials) miss the early tackle on Julian Savea which absolutely cost a try? It happened right in front of them. Even without seeing it properly, just the change in his running should have told them that something had happened."

Interestingly, Mehrtens did agree with the referee's call not to award Leonardo Senatore a try after he charged down Ma'a Nonu's attempted chip kick.

However, Mehrtens said the inconsistencies of the refereeing annoyed him.

CLICK HERE to read Mehrtens's full column on the Stuff.co.nz website.

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