June International Tours

IRB reprimands Honiss

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The International Rugby Board (IRB) has reprimanded New Zealand referee Paul Honiss, who is on the IRB’s 12-man Test Match Referee Panel and destined for the World Cup later this year, for comments he made on New Zealand radio last week that encouraged players to talk more to referees and to question decisions. This is clearly against IRB policy.

IRB Chief Executive Mike Miller said: “Last November the IRB announced that match officials would enforce a zero tolerance policy when it came to players disputing decisions on the field.

 

This followed a meeting of the IRB Test Match Referee Panel and National Union referee managers and reflected a desire to curb the growing trend of players continually questioning and disputing referee decisions.

“The message from the IRB has not changed. Back-chat and arguing with a match official will not be tolerated, nor will any attempt to influence a referee or slow down the match through questioning the referee. Players who overstep the mark will be penalised accordingly and the IRB has reiterated this policy to the Referee Panel.”

“Paul Honiss’s comments encouraging players to verbally engage the referee more were out of line. He has been reprimanded by the IRB Referee Manager [Paddy O’Brien] and he has been told that such actions will not be tolerated moving forward. He has been reminded about his responsibilities as a Test match referee and he has accepted that his actions were contrary to IRB policy. The matter is now closed.”

IRB Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien added; “The referee’s decision is final on the field of play. Nowhere in the Game’s Laws does it say that players can question the referee or try to influence his decision making. We allow captains to talk to the referee but only at appropriate moments and it is not a given right.

“Prior to Rugby World Cup 2007 the IRB will be holding a briefing and training session with the Rugby World Cup match officials designed to ensure consistency of officiating and that zero tolerance policies for things such as verbal abuse are applied.

“Furthermore the IRB will discontinue pre-match meetings between coaches and referees. The intention is to remove unnecessary external influences on match officials and allow them to referee what they see in front of them without any preconceived ideas. There will be one pre-tournament briefing with all team coaches and referees and prior to the tournament and that will be that.”

365 Digital

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