Rennie apologises for bizarre semi incident

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 31/07/2013

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Dave Rennie has apologised after the bizarre actions of a Chiefs water runner prevented the Crusaders taking a quick throw-in during last Saturday night's Super Rugby semifinal.

Referee Steve Walsh took the rare step of halting play and remonstrated with the Chiefs' official after he illegally grabbed the ball when it was kicked out, stopping Crusaders wing Zac Guildford from quickly re-starting play.

The annoyed Crusaders chirped to Walsh who marched over to the water runner and warned him a repeat incident wouldn't be tolerated.

Sanzar referees boss Lyndon Bray contacted Chiefs coach Rennie for an explanation.

"I have had a chat to Dave to clarify what happened and clarify our perspective of it," Bray confirmed.

"After my discussion with the Chiefs I accept that the guy (water runner) got caught out a little bit...He's very aware of what his actions meant in terms of the repercussions of deciding to catch the ball.

"He (Rennie) was very good. I think in the follow-up to that incident everyone is aware of the consequences and we move on."

Bray has also warned the Brumbies a repeat of any incidents wouldn't be tolerated in the final at Waikato Stadium. A similar incident occurred in their semi against the Bulls in Pretoria.

Walsh was within his rights to stop play and take the ball runner to task.

If someone deliberately touches the ball and cancels out a quick throw, the only option is for the ref to put the person on a warning that they could be sent outside the playing enclosure.

Although Walsh took little heed of Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder's warnings the Chiefs used runners to take defenders out, Bray was satisfied with the ref's performance.

"In any game there are is going to be a certain amount of detail that shows decisions that were right and decisions that were wrong. But on the balance of things I thought Steve had a good game."

Bray said the top five referees in the Sanzar competition were Craig Joubert, who will control the final, Chris Pollock, Glen Jackson, Jaco Peyper and Walsh. Jonathan Kaplan, who is on the cusp of retiring, was also highly rated but has been injured.

The introduction of the TMO to review tries and foul play means no white cards have been issued this season.

The white card is a lesser penalty card than the yellow and red, which the referee can use to flag an incident for review by the citing commissioner post match.

Bray said the TMOs got 85 per cent of their decisions correct.

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