World Rugby chiefs are refusing to get involved in a war of words with Eddie Jones who is threatening to boycott future meetings with referees after Sam Underhill’s “try” was ruled out by a television match official intervention in the 16-15 defeat by New Zealand at Twickenham.
It is understood World Rugby remains adamant that the regular meetings between the leading coaches and top referees creates an important dialogue despite Jones insisting he will not attend any more gatherings.
England were denied a match winning try after Courtney Lawes charged down TJ Perenara’s box kick and Underhill surged his way to the try line turning Beauden Barrett inside out before diving over in the corner. However, TMO Marius Jonker told referee Jerome Garces to change his decision and to award a penalty for offside against Lawes.
Jones has previously taken part in World Rugby workshops on law amendments and recommendations, and joined other leading coaches and officials at the Lensbury club in London in the build up to the New Zealand game where the TMO’s role was discussed. “I don’t think I’ll go to another referees’ meeting in my life. It’s a waste of time.” said Jones who is preparing England to take on Japan at Twickenham on Saturday.
“The referees have a tough job, tough decisions to make, and all we want in rugby is consistency in decision making. We are happy to take every decision they make.
“But if we have policies then we have to follow them. If we don’t follow them, then what is the point in being involved in those policies and decision making?
“I would rather just accept it and get on with it. Smile at the end of the game if it doesn’t go our way, know that if it does go our way, it won’t the next time.
“That’s the way it goes, you either get the rub of the green or you don’t. I don’t have any sour grapes at all about the game.”
Besides the annual November meeting between coaches and referees, there are also pre-game meetings on Friday’s when both coaches can raise issues and ask for clarification from the referee. There are also regular World Rugby laws sub-committee meetings to discuss areas of concern with Allain Rolland World Rugby’s High Performance 15s Match Officials’ Manager, a key figure along with former Scotland flanker John Jeffrey who is Chairman of the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Panel.
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