Henry in hot water over referee comments

Graham Henry. Photo / Getty Images
Graham Henry. Photo / Getty Images

World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry faces an investigation for saying referees and the judicial panel in this season's Rugby Championship have been "totally inconsistent" and are "a weakness in the game."

The ex-All Blacks coach, now a technical adviser to the Argentina team, made the comments during the ReUnion panel show which screened live on Sky TV on Tuesday night.

Commenting on the citing of Springboks prop Flip van der Merwe during last weekend's test against Australia, Henry said the judiciary is "totally inconsistent just like the refereeing."

Henry said a decision to issue a yellow card to Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper for a tip tackle in the same match was "madness" and referees appeared to be looking for excuses to award yellow cards beyond "the obvious."

"I just can't understand what they are seeing because everyone else doesn't agree," he said.

Henry agreed with another panelist on the TV program, former All Blacks scrumhalf Justin Marshall, that referees were awarding red and yellow cards too quickly and it was affecting the outcome of matches.

"I think that is a weakness in the game at the moment," he said. "We need totally transparency."

SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters told Fairfax media from Argentina he was aware of Henry's comments and said the southern hemisphere rugby group would be investigated.

While acting as an assistant coach of the Auckland-based Blues during this season's Super Rugby competition Henry was sanctioned by SANZAR for calling a television match official "blind." He was forced to make a public apology and was told to refrain from making similar comments in future.

- AP

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