Refs "can't afford to let myths grow."
Some excellent news and some choice comments, long overdue.
Via Rugby Planet:
Paddy O'Brien, the International Rugby Board (IRB) refereeing co-ordinator, has declared war on Rugby Union's whingers.
O'Brien said coaches, players and officials will not be allowed to question referees' decisions at the World Cup in France later this year, while coaches will also no longer be allowed to meet with referees before matches. [...]
"We're not going to accept this at the World Cup. Those players doing so will be penalised at once." [...]
"I am determined that the World Cup will be won by the best team on the paddock, not in newspaper columns and certainly not by a coach running to a newspaper, bleating.
"We are banning all meetings between coaches and referees [allowed before the Tri-Nations game at Eden Park] before World Cup games.
"No other sport allows coaches to go in and see referees, armed with laptops, statistics and photos, before a game. Rugby should not be the first; it is absurd.
"Referees must referee what they see in front of them on the field during a game, not have pre-conceived ideas through coaches trying to influence them 24 hours before a match even starts.
"We will be putting a huge emphasis on that point before the World Cup begins." [...]
O'Brien blames the trend on growing pressure on coaches, and the willingness of some reporters to pass on as gospel everything a coach says.
"I think some coaches believe they can use the media to get the upper hand, and some reporters have no credibility at all," he said.
"But as I say, this World Cup should be won by the best team. I don't care which side that is but I do know that referees cannot afford to listen to public opinion and they can't afford to let myths grow. They have to deal with facts."