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The reason why Matt Carley refereed England training this week

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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Matt Carley added to his reputation as a no-nonsense referee last month when in charge of the Rugby Championship finale between the Springboks and the All Blacks on the Gold Coast, and he brought that same attitude into England camp where he refereed a training session for Eddie Jones ahead of next Saturday’s match versus Tonga.   

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Carley’s November duties will see him act as an assistant referee for the Scotland-Australia and Ireland-New Zealand games before taking charge of the Ireland-Argentina match in Dublin on November 21. 

Having been in England camp during the Six Nations in March, Carley was again present at a training session this week at Pennyhill to help him and England prepare for their respective Autumn Nations Series schedules and Jones revealed that one of his players even got in trouble with the official.

“We just had Matt Carley in for a session. He sin-binned one of our players – I won’t give the name – because he conducted a foul in training, so we are very serious about wanting to play the game in the right spirit and with the right respect. So we endorse everything World Rugby is doing.

“World Rugby are going about the game in the right way. They are not going to get everything right. As a coaching group, we want the obvious things dealt with and if they deal with that, we will be happy. 

“The referees are moving in the right direction. You look at the ruck speed, it has increased by ten per cent in the last twelve months which has resulted in a much more attractive battle between contest and continuity. They are doing everything they can and all we can do is keep supporting them,” said Jones, adding that he doesn’t believe on-field coaching is an issue although there has been a loss of respect.  

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“I don’t think it [on-field coaching] is a problem, it’s only a problem if the coaches aren’t respectful. We have always had coaches run, that’s no different but they have got to be respectful to the game and the game is about being respectful of the opposition, being respectful of the referee and if they are not then it is a problem for our game.  

“Our staff has been well behaved and we expect them to be respectful. It is an important part of the game to be respectful. In all seriousness the game has lost a bit of respect the way players have treated the referees, the way referees have treated the players and it’s something all the coaches and World Rugby have spoken about and it is something we really want to drive forward. 

“A referee makes a decision and we have got to be respectful of his decision and he has got to be respectful of the players if they ask in the right way which sometimes didn’t happen over the last 18 months, so we need to get that back in the game.”

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