Assistant comes to aid of injured ref.

He was sporting four stitches after the game but referee Glen "Jacko" Jackson's shiner had nothing to do with contentious calls in last night's Super 15 nailbiter.

Jackson had risked the wrath of a passionate Dunedin crowd after a last-minute decision to rule out a Highlanders try which would have given them victory against the Crusaders.

Jackson also sent All Black captain Richie McCaw to the sin bin in what was an at-times spiteful match.

But Jackson had in fact suffered the nasty cut in a head collision with Highlanders prop Chris King during the second half.


Jackson, a former Super Rugby player and Ranfurly Shield winner, was able to stay on the pitch and was stitched up after the final whistle by assistant ref Ben O'Keefe.

"I think I ran into Chris King's head and realised pretty quickly that it was in a spot that can easily swell and be cut," he told the Herald on Sunday.

"I think my biggest issue when I was playing was never putting my head into positions that I shouldn't."

He said it was first injury refereeing. The stitches would probably stay in about seven days.

"I haven't got a game next week anyway so it's worked out quite nicely to get a gash," he laughed.

Sky Sport rugby commentator Scotty "Sumo" Stevenson saw the collision and shared a picture of his mate's injury on Twitter. "It's very unusual," Stevenson said.

He said it was the first time an assistant referee had stitched up the face of the referee.

"I can guarantee it had nothing to do with any calls in the game." Stevenson said. "I saw him get tangled up and then I saw the blood. Chris King's got a pretty tough head."

Passions stirred in Dunedin as the Crusaders pipped the Highlanders 32-30. The game's outcome hinged on a video replay after Israel Dagg tackled Highlanders winger Patrick Osborne after the final hooter.

To the Dunedin crowd's heartbreak, television match official (TMO) Vinny Munro ruled Osborne grounded the ball on the touchline as he dived for what would've been a winning try.