Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: Henry summoned to judicial hearing

Blues technical adviser asked to defend gripes about refs.

John Kirwan and Graham Henry. Photo / Richard Robinson
John Kirwan and Graham Henry. Photo / Richard Robinson

Graham Henry will be asked to defend a raft of his complaints about Super 15 referees after being summonsed to a Sanzar misconduct hearing.

The former All Black supremo and Blues technical adviser has been asked to appear before judicial officer Jannie Lubbe to answer a misconduct charge in a teleconference hearing on Sunday night.

Early this week when Henry got a rare chance to front the media, he delivered a provocative outburst about decisions during the Blues 22-3 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

However Blues coach John Kirwan adopted a more diplomatic approach yesterday when quizzed about the Super 15 rulings which continue to befuddle coaches, players and spectators.

Kirwan was talking about drop box suggestions for Sanzar referees boss Lyndon Bray and conversations with NZRU refs boss Bryce Lawrence and match whistler Glen Jackson.

"We have done all the videos and spoken to the ref and got some clarification around some of those rules," Kirwan said.

"We get frustrated but there are different ways to communicate it and what we have done is we have cut some videos and Lyndon has had a look at them and we've moved on now."

Kirwan said all coaches were under pressure as the season moved towards the playoffs and so were the officials.

Referees and television match officials had delivered some strong performances this season and that teamwork just needed some refining work.

Coaches and players were the same, decisions they made would have an influence on how games went.

Referees understood that. All the coaches too, had a responsibility to talk about what we are seeing. That was part of what the Blues did with their drop box and discussions, said Kirwan. Long-term, the answer was to keep refining the system.

There had been a commonsense approach from TMOs, and referees could not be blamed about asking for help, they could not interpret what they thought had happened.

"I think there are some things we can learn from rugby league," Kirwan said. "When they go to the TMO they have already made a decision and that is a positive, and then they go to the TMO."

Some of Henry's frustrations were about rulings and how referees were not as strict on some areas of the game as others.

The maul was one grey area.

- NZ Herald

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