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Ref Steve Walsh told off for abusing TMO powers

Referee Steve Walsh effectively allowed the players to ask for reviews

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Article Published: Friday 12 April 2013|

Controversial referee Steve Walsh has been given a "telling off" by SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray for his performance in the Blues victory over the Highlanders in Round 8.

Walsh's performance was reviewed and marked down by Bray as he asked TMO Ben Skeen to make rulings on tries following requests from the players - mostly Highlanders

The Blues won the match 29-18 and took 10 minutes longer than scheduled to Walsh's requests and an injury to Buxton Popoali'i.

Almost every try in the match went to the TMO but none were disallowed.

Under the new International Rugby Board extended TMO powers trial only a a referee, assistant referee or TMO can ask for footage to be reviewed in the build-up to a potential try in case there is a "clear and obvious" impediment and under no circumstances are players allowed to ask for referrals.

"From my perspective with my review of Steve ... there were a couple of occasions where he voiced an opinion that he go upstairs to check because of a complaint from a Highlanders player and that's really not what we're looking for," Bray told APNZ.

"If he had doubt anyway, that's what he needs to say, not reflect the player complaint."

After Walsh's performance Bray sent an email to his referees and reminded them of the correct TMO process.

"From a human nature point of view, it's inevitable that we will have players questioning from time to time," explained Bray.

"We are very lucky in our sport that it's pretty low key and it lacks the emotion of other sports ... but they are going to do it. "

"It's up to the referee to decide whether the evidence that he's seen on his way through supports the fact that there's doubt."

"What he shouldn't do is then announce to the world that we are going upstairs on the basis of a complaint because that would be wrong. "

"I don't have any issue with why (Walsh) used the TMO, but I do have an issue with the terminology that he expressed verbally because it makes us all feel like the players dictated that he went upstairs and that's not right.

"We're dealing with something that's very new, but again, that's not an excuse."

Walsh will be in charge of this weekend's Chiefs match against the Reds at Waikato Stadium and Bray said that apart from the TMO abuse Walsh had a good game.

"The only thing that clouds peoples' views is that we had a lot of referrals and it looked like different things were happening ... his actual general performance was very good."

A final decision on whether the IRB will retain the TMO's increased powers will be made by the IRB in May 2014.

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