Discipline update

For reasons linked to a game I refereed in November, I’ve been keeping an eye on proceedings in Bristol this evening where the RFU are holding a series of Disciplinary hearings.

My mind went back to some of the Premiership coaches remarks in the press at the weekend. All of them were, quelle surprise, critical of the match officials. Well, interestingly this is what has happened so far this evening (1 more verdict due at time of writing). I’ve paired them with the relevant coaches remarks after the games:

Chris Hala’ufia (London Irish v London Welsh)

Brian Smith, London Irish Director of Rugby, “For me it was a perfect tackle. There was nothing Chris could have done about it and we think it is perfectly executed tackle.”

Three days later, the player pleaded guilty to the charge.

Disciplinary outcome: 5 week ban and order to pay £500 towards hearing costs.

Matt Banahan red card (Bath v Leicester)

Bath coach Gary Gold post match. “I thought Matt’s definitely wasn’t a red but when you lose a game I don’t want to have a go at officials. It was irresponsible and it was unfortunate but I didn’t think it was red but it was a penalty.”

Disciplinary outcome: 3 week ban.

Brett Deacon red card (Bath v Leicester)

Tigers boss Richard Cockerill wasn’t as delicate in his description of the officials’ rulings. “Brett Deacon retaliates a little bit and throws a punch because his mate has been pole-axed and suddenly they are both off. You strike a player and it’s a straight red. It’s political correctness gone mad and in my opinion it’s out of kilter in terms of how the game should be played.”

Disciplinary outcome: 1 week.

Francois Louw (Leicester v Bath)

Cockerill again: “The first sending off was something about nothing. There was a bit of a scuffle and Louw dropped an elbow on a player and it’s a straight red card. Should he have been sent off? Probably not. It’s a bit harsh but it’s the world we live in.”

Disciplinary outcome: case dismissed.

So hardly a ringing condemnation of the decisions made by the officials in the cold light of day. Sure the letters of apology are in the post…..