Henry again under scrutiny for ref comments

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 03/10/2013
Graham Henry
Getty Images
TED TROUBLE: Sir Graham Henry's remarks about the referees came under fire.

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Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry's may be sanctioned for his latest outburst against rugby officials.

Henry, now a technical advisor with Argentina, labelled the Rugby Championship judiciary and referees "totally inconsistent", and a "weakness in the game" when he was a guest panelist on Sky TV programme Re:Union on Tuesday night.

The successful World Cup coach also said the decision to yellow card Wallaby flanker Michael Hooper was "madness".

This is the second time in just over four months Henry, who is also on the Blues' coaching staff, has come under scrutiny from Sanzar.

In late May he pleaded guilty to a misconduct complaint brought against him by Sanzar when stating a TV match official was "probably a blind TMO" after the Blues were beaten 23-3 by the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Yesterday Sanzar boss Greg Peters, speaking from Argentina, was aware of Henry's comments and acknowledged his organisation may take the matter further once they had viewed the programme.

"We will run the process we have always run, which is to look at the full content of the interview and do our own investigation which may involve asking [Henry] to comment," Peters said. "

Following the Crusaders match Henry also said a yellow card to Culum Retallick was "bullshit" and it was "ludicrous" Frank Halai wasn't awarded a penalty try.

He was later reprimanded for a breach of the Sanzar code of conduct, cautioned to refrain from such actions and told to issue a public apology.

But Henry couldn't resist unleashing his frustrations on Re:Union.

In reference to the citing of Springboks lock Flip van der Merwe he stated: "Well, they [the judiciary] are totally inconsistent just like the refereeing - but I should move on."

When discussing the yellow card given to Hooper for a tip-tackle, Henry said the punishment was "madness" and he was concerned referees were looking for things to give yellow cards for rather than "the obvious".

"I just can't understand what they are seeing because everyone else doesn't agree."

When former All Blacks halfback and Fairfax columnist Justin Marshall said trigger-happy officials were affecting games and were allocating yellow and red cards too quickly, he found an ally in Henry.

"And so does refereeing," Henry added. "I think that is a weakness in the game at the moment. We need totally transparency."

Asked if he was disappointed Henry hadn't heeded Sanzar's warning to not criticise officials, Peters was reluctant to make any comment.

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"All I can say is that there are fairly well established behaviour guidelines for everyone involved in the game and that doesn't matter who you are.

"Our job is to uphold that standard and ensure they are being maintained. And that will be part of our consideration."

Complicating this process is that the Rugby Championship referees are appointed by the IRB and the judicial personnel are appointed and administered by Sanzar.

Henry - as he did after the Crusaders match - may state he was trying to deliver his latest criticisms in a humorous manner.

However, that is unlikely to endear him to Sanzar who are charged with protecting the competition's integrity.

Argentina meet Australia in Rosario on Sunday but Peters, who will not speak to Henry about the matter in private, said it was too early to state if the issue could be settled before then.

- The Press

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