Super 14 Rugby

Referee Marks admits to TMO blunder


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Australian rugby referee Paul Marks has admitted to making a crucial blunder but his boss Peter Marshall insists it shouldn’t lead to him being dropped from the list of Super 14 officials.

Marshall, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) referees’ manager, spoke with Marks on Sunday about the controversial no-try decision which seemingly cost the Hurricanes victory and two vital competition points against the Sharks on Saturday.

The Super 14 match officials have only been appointed up until round nine which is this weekend and Marks will be an assistant referee for the Force-Waratahs match in Perth.

If Marks is to be given control of matches after this weekend is to be decided by Sanzar selectors Glenn Wahlstrom (New Zealand), Wayne Erickson (Australia) and Arrie Schoonwinkel (South Africa) later this week at their regular meeting after they receive Hamilton-based official Kim Eichmann’s report.

“It’s not just one decision, it’s the overall performance they (selectors) will look at,” Marshall told NZPA on Monday.

“We don’t drop people for one decision.”

Marshall said that Marks had admitted that he should have gone to the television match official (TMO) when Bradley Barrit took out Conrad Smith who was on his way to scoring for the Hurricanes.

Marks ruled that the Hurricanes had knocked-on and then called fulltime. Replays showed it was Stefan Terblanche of the Sharks that touched the ball.

“He was disappointed he made that decision. He’ll discuss it with the referees coach (former test ref Andrew Cole) but he acknowledges he could have handled it differently,” Marshall said.

“People are being a little bit harsh but I can understand it was a crucial decision.”

Said Marshall: “He’s a good up and coming referee who’s progressing very well.”

Marshall also agreed that Saturday’s debacle gave further weight to International Rugby Board (IRB) referees boss Paddy O’Brien’s call for the TMO’s powers to be extended.

At present the rules state he can only be called on if a player is “in the act of scoring a try.”

“Paddy is pushing to take it further into the field of play and it’s certainly got some merit.”

Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper said that he was baffled by Marks’ decision not to consult the TMO.

“All I’d say is that you’d ask yourself why you didn’t have a look,” he said.

And New Zealand high performance referee coach Colin Hawke said he was surprised, labelling the decision “unfortunate”.

“Certainly it’s the New Zealand view that if there is any doubt, a referee should go up to the TMO,” Hawke told Radio Sport.

“It looked to me like he made the cardinal error of not taking the time out and just using what aid you have in that situation which was a crunch one.”


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