Wasps are seeking help from referees after becoming the most penalised team in the Gallagher Premiership as they prepare to face leaders Bristol on Friday night.
Wasps have conceded 153 penalties this season and while on a positive note they lead the list in most turnovers won, recent matches have seen a spike in problems with referees with Saturday’s 20-19 loss to Gloucester featuring 15 penalties and a yellow card of Malakai Fekitoa.
As a result, Lee Blackett, the Wasps director of rugby, is planning to call in a referee to work with the players in training in a bid to improve their discipline while also asking Tony Spreadbury, the Rugby Football Union’s refereeing chief for feedback.
Blackett, whose team have now lost four home games in a row for the first time since they moved to the Ricoh Arena in 2014, now finds himself in ninth place and ten points off the play-off places. Wasps were beaten by Exeter in last season’s play-off final at Twickenham but have little chance of being back in the title mix unless they clean up their disciplinary act.
Blackett said: “We have to fix up the discipline side – definitely. We are going to speak to referees this week because there is a perception out there about us. We want to work with referees to improve our discipline or else you are not going to win games. We lost discipline against Gloucester and, as a result, spent too long in the wrong half of the pitch.
“When I speak to the referees I want to know their perceptions. We have tried to sort out the penalties at the breakdown and only conceded one (against Gloucester) when it has been three or four and then we think we have sorted offside and then get three against Gloucester. I want to work with the referees because six weeks ago we were one of the most disciplined teams in the league and this is something that has happened in this spell of games.
“Too many people want to use referees as excuses and that is not what we are about. Tony Spreadbury is very good and we get a report every week and I am going to ring him and try to get a referee into training.
“Bristol can be devastating and in your 22 the last thing we want to do is give them penalties. Our attack was a big positive and despite the discipline and line out we still put ourselves in a position to win it. “
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