Paddy apologises to Peter

01:43, Jan 31 2009

IRB referees' boss Paddy O'Brien has asked Sunday News to pass on his apology to Peter Thorburn for calling him a liar.

A bitter verbal slanging match erupted between the duo last week after a touch judge didn't call a forward pass for one of France's tries against the All Blacks last week.

Thorburn, who coached USA at the World Cup, said it was because of a pre-tournament directive that instructed TJs to only focus on if the ball has gone into touch, foul play and kicks at goal.

He said he was told TJs shouldn't interfere on issues like forward passes, lineout throws or offsides.

"I think it's very mischievous of Peter," O'Brien said last week. "I am very disappointed that he has basically, in my view, lied to the public of New Zealand."

Last night O'Brien sought out Sunday News in Paris and conceded he went over the top with his accusation that Thorburn is a liar.


"I said during the week that Peter told lies and that was a bad comment for me to make," O'Brien said.

"I think I should apologise to him for saying that, but he is not saying the right story.

"I know Peter Thorburn is pretty upset at me calling him a liar. But there's a difference between not telling the full story and telling lies.

"I don't want to call him a liar, but what he said is not what the touch judges were told.

"The bottom line is that the forward pass in that try was obvious, but it was missed, but that's a different scenario."

Sunday News