Graham Henry slams Super Rugby match officials

Rugby World Cup winning All Black coach Graham Henry has slammed the influence of the assistant match officials after the Blues 23-3 loss to the Crusaders.

Henry led the All Blacks to Rugby World Cup victory in 2011 and is now an assistant coach under Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan.

Henry said that the Television Match Official must have been “blind” as he did not award Blues winger Frank Halai a try during the second half.

“It was obvious to me, I don’t know, he was probably a blind TMO was he? It’s an obvious try,” Henry told Reuters.

“I could see it and I’m blind.”

The Blues made a ferocious start to the match but the Crusaders weathered the storm in wet conditions and slowly killed off the Blues game restricting them to just three first half points by dominating the Blues set pieces.

The victory moved the Crusaders above the Blues in the New Zealand Conference but Henry says that the Crusaders could have been a little too close to the limits of the law on defence.

“When you’re watching the game you see so many offsides in the line from a ruck,” he added.

“I would say there was probably 20 times at the weekend when guys were offside from the ruck.”

Henry said that the assistant referees also annoyed him when Blues lock Culum Retallick received a yellow card from referee Glen Jackson towards the end of the first half for a deliberate knock down when the Crusaders were attacking.

“They threw the ball at him,” Henry said and added that the match officials should have instead been concentrating on the offside line.

“We are sitting in the coaches’ box, and I’m sure the Crusaders coaches are doing the same thing, saying ‘offside ref, offside line umpires’.

“Those are the things they are there for. Not some controversial knock down of the ball in the five metre channel, yellow card.

“Just do the basics right and we have a good game of footy. “

“Those sort of things frustrate you but that’s part of the game.”

“They were better than us, we accept that, they deserved to win the game.”

Henry’s comments come after a controversial weekend for the Television match officials in three other matches.

The Rebels were awarded a penalty try against the Stormers following what had looked like a knock forward by Scott Higginbotham on Friday.

On Saturday the Bulls were awarded a try against the Highlanders by the TMO when most of the stadium and all of the players thought the pass from Dewald Potgieter to Akona Ndungane was forward.

The TV match commentators also thought the TMO had called it wrong. The players were so convinced of the forward pass that they stayed where the pass went forward and the referee had to call them

Then in the last match on Saturday referee Craig Joubert seem to refer all of his decisions to the TMO who denied the Reds four out of five times for tries. The commentators in that match saw a few of the TMO decisions differently to the officials.

Joubert has been “rested” for this weekend’s Super Rugby matches and Marius Jonker has replaced him as assistant for the match between the Sharks and Bulls.

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