Henry apologises after misconduct charge

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 10:34 28/05/2013
Sir Graham Henry
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TED SORRY: Sir Graham Henry has issued a public apology after breaching Sanzar's code of conduct after criticising match officials.

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Sir Graham Henry has issued the public apology required of him by Sanzar after breaching its code of conduct with comments he made about the officiating in the Blues-Crusaders Super Rugby match on May 18.

Henry on Sunday pleaded guilty to a misconduct charge levelled by Sanzar after he criticised the performance of match officials during the Blues' 23-3 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Henry, who is on the Blues coaching staff as an assistant for Sir John Kirwan, escaped with a reprimand and agreed to issue a public apology following a teleconference with Sanzar's duty judicial officer Jannie Lubbe.

The Blues issued his apology in a statement today.

"On Sunday, I accepted that I had breached the Sanzar Code of Conduct with comments I made to the media last week following the Blues' game against the Crusaders," Henry said.

"This statement is an apology to the match officials who may have taken offence to my comments and to Sanzar.

"I accept that my comments to the media last week went beyond that which Sanzar deem acceptable under the Code of Conduct. Accordingly, I want to apologise to Sanzar and to the match officials involved for my comments, and for any offence they may have felt, as this was certainly not my intention.

"My intention was to try to respond to media questions in relation to matters I thought were important, in an honest but humorous style. I clearly failed to achieve that and in some respects, I accept my comments went too far in criticising the match officials.

"I recognise there is a Sanzar Code of Conduct to be followed and I will take more care to adhere to these standards in the future when I am answering media questions about matters which both the media, and the fans are interested to hear from us about."

In the aftermath of the Blues 23-3 loss on May 18, Henry accused the television match official Keith Brown as being "blind" after a try to Frank Halai was disallowed and said Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett "got away with murder" at scrum time.

The competition's governing body laid the charge against the World Cup-winning coach after reviewing his comments and deciding they amounted to misconduct under rule 10 of the Sanzar disciplinary protocols and breached the Sanzar code of conduct.

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Henry was scathing when addressing media at the Blues headquarters last Tuesday, arguing the Blues should have been awarded a penalty try and that Halai definitely scored the five-pointer ruled out by New Zealand TMO Brown during the second half at AMI Stadium.

He labelled the no-try decision as "ludicrous" adding: "It was obvious to me. I don't know, he's probably a blind TMO is he?"

Henry also said the decision by referee New Zealand referee Glen Jackson to sinbin lock Calum Retallick for an intentional knock-down was unfair - the Crusaders, meanwhile, were seeking a penalty try which did not eventuate.

Taking into account Henry's "exemplary record as a rugby coach stretching over 40 years" Lubbe said the sanctions would amount to a reprimand and a requirement for Henry to issue a public apology to Sanzar plus to Jackson and Brown.

- Fairfax Media

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