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Rugby Pod rages over Poite: 'An absolute cowboy of a referee...'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Ex-England international Andy Goode has outlined his fury with Romain Poite, the French referee who gave Brad Shields a red card in last Sunday’s heavy Heineken Champions Cup defeat for Wasps at home to Munster. Shields was due to appear before an independent disciplinary hearing on Tuesday night following the 26th-minute incident where he tackled Dave Kilcoyne in Coventry. 

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Veteran ref Poite, who retired from Test rugby last month after taking charge of the Scotland-Australia match at Murrayfield, believed Shields had dangerously tackled the Munster prop, a red card decision that handed the initiative to the visitors who went on to win the match comfortably on a 35-14 scoreline.

Shields is a generally very disciplined player. It was only September when the 30-year-old was given the first red card of his career after two yellows in the same match for collapsed mauls in the Premiership, something he spoke at length about last month with RugbyPass in an extensive exclusive interview.

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Before Shields’ midweek disciplinary hearing this week, Goode took the Wasps player’s latest red card incident to task on The Rugby Pod, the show he co-hosts with ex-Scotland lock Jim Hamilton. The pair were in full agreement that Poite had damningly got the first-half call wrong.   

“It was a hell of an effort by Wasps and Munster, all the adversity they had,” said Goode, complimenting both teams for their dedication in ensuring the round one game went ahead as scheduled last Sunday. “There were something like 54 players missing from both teams. 

“Actually to get the game on was pretty much near a miracle and then you rock up and you see referee Romain Poite is refereeing and you think why can’t he have an issue and someone else referees the game? It was an interesting game, exciting… there were errors, end-to-end stuff and then he sent Brad Shields off. He doesn’t even make contact with his head.”

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Hamilton replied: “That red card is that bad that I can’t even come on here and joke that Wasps have lost another game and they got beaten by Munster who were depleted. That red card decision was that bad that I can’t even sit here and say anything about Wasps because that has wrecked it. It has wrecked the game and ruined Wasps’ chances of even competing in that game.”

Back to Goode: “I don’t see anywhere where he has made contact with his head.” Hamilton added: “He sped through it as well, the framework. The TMO even said in French. ‘Are you sure, no mitigation?'”

“I am not taking anything away from Munster, Munster were very good,” interjected Goode, an ex-Wasps player. “Munster would probably have won the game the way they played but for Romain Poite to send him [Shields] off was just ridiculous. It wasn’t even close to being a red card.”

Later in the show when doling out the good, the bad and the ugly awards from last weekend’s European action, Goode added: “It ain’t hard to work out where the bad is going this weekend. He is what is known as a cowboy. He is French, he is an absolute cowboy of a referee, Romain Poite, with that decision to send off Brad Shields with a red card. It is never a red. It doesn’t even make contact with his head for me. Romain Poite, you get the bad this week.”

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The reference to Poite didn’t end there, though. “The ugly this week goes to an ex-teammate of mine, an ex-roommate of mine, he is quite a weird bloke as well, Rory Kockett,” continued Goode. “He’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There was a penalty given to him by the referee, a tackle by Alex Dombrandt caught him in the chops by accident. 

“Rory Kockett spends the next 30 seconds trying to remonstrate with the referee, trying to get him binned or sent off or something. He said: ‘That is bullshit, referee, absolute bullshit.’ He kept saying bullshit. You can’t be talking to a referee like that, Rory Kockett. Pretty ugly scenes in terms of you have got to show the referee respect even though I have just absolutely hammered Romain Poite, but I am not a player so I can do that. Rory Kockett, you get the ugly this week.”

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