Jones refuses to back down




Reds coach Eddie Jones, already facing a SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) disciplinary hearing, has refused to back down from his biting comments he made about match officials earlier in the week.

Jones landed himself in hot water, with his original SANZAR ‘Code of Conduct’ DC hearing having been postponed till Thursday, after he launched a vicious verbal attack on match officials at the weekend.

Jones was particularly incensed at the handling of scrums by Matt Goddard (Australia) in his team’s 6-32 loss to the Brumbies last Saturday.

Instead of backing down, with a possible fine and suspension hanging over his head, the former Wallaby coach insisted on Wednesday there should be a forum for review of referees’ performances.

The Australian Associated Press (AAP) reports that Jones addressed media at Reds training at Ballymore on Wednesday when he launched his latest verbal assault.

Jones tried to deflect talk about his looming SANZAR tribunal appearance following his scathing criticism of Goddard’s performance last weekend.

But when asked if referees were a protected species, Jones did not hold back, saying whistle-blowers had to be accountable.

“Every part of our game is under review all the time, and we must have a forum to review referees as well,” said told journalists.

“We are getting 9-3, 9-6s [scorelines] and they [referees] are having a significant part in the game.

“I was thinking back to rugby league in the ’70s and ’80s when you lost games from feeds in the scrums and loose arms.

“That’s how significant referees are in rugby at the moment. They decide games and we need to have the highest standard of refereeing.”

Jones thought SANZAR was on the right track last year when there was a move for whistle-blowers to attend post-match press conferences.

“I know that early last year there was a meeting between SANZAR coaches and referees and the decision was made that referees would be at the post-match conference so that any queries about the game could be answered,” he said.

“When the next SANZAR meeting was held it was rescinded.”

Jones was scheduled to appear before the tribunal in Brisbane on Tuesday over his post-match comments, which included labelling Goddard’s second-half handling of the scrums as “ludicrous” and “disgraceful”.

However, it was postponed until Thursday, after Jones’s counsel sought clarification on SANZAR’s jurisdiction.

Jones is the first coach in Super rugby history to be cited for breaching the SANZAR code of conduct and faces a warning, fine or even suspension.

He said on Wednesday he had no intention of retracting his comments and did not rule out future criticism.

“I think I have a duty as coach to support my team to ensure we believe we get a fair go and the comments I have made have been in line with that,” he said.

“I think it is important to have a code of conduct. I don’t think you can continuously criticise any part of the game.

“You have to have some objectivity but at the same time if there is something wrong in the game you have to be able to voice it.

“As long as you don’t do it all the time, there needs to be a channel for it.”

If Jones was stressing about the possibility of incurring a suspension before the Reds’ match against the Blues in Auckland on Saturday it didn’t show.

He joked that he might follow the lead of Chelsea and former Porto soccer coach Jose Mourinho and text instructions to his assistants from the grandstand.

365 Digital

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