Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Rugby: Hurricanes fume at calls of whistle-happy Walsh

Tatafu Polota Nau of the Waratahs is tackled during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty Images
Tatafu Polota Nau of the Waratahs is tackled during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty Images

With the sound of Steve Walsh's whistle still ringing in their ears, the Hurricanes have set up camp in Melbourne.

The side had their four-match winning run stopped by the Waratahs in Sydney last Saturday night as a combination of poor defence, sloppy handling and some curious decisions by Walsh led to Mark Hammett's side falling to a 39-30 defeat.

The seventh-placed Hurricanes have travelled to Melbourne and turned their attention to meeting the Rebels on Friday night.

Hammett was set to send an email to Sanzar referees boss Lyndon Bray either last night or today but it was simply to seek clarification around a few of Walsh's calls rather than launch a formal complaint. Speculation has swirled around whether TJ Perenara actually delivered any backchat to Walsh following a controversial late knock-on call.

Walsh blew a penalty citing Perenara's dissent, which was converted by Waratahs first-five Bernard Foley and essentially ended any hope of a Hurricanes comeback and also ensured Hammett's men were unable to claim a bonus point.

Hurricanes assistant coach Alama Ieremia didn't confirm whether Perenara had given Walsh a serve or not but said his side needed to be better behaved.

"It's just one of those scenarios where you have got to actually adjust to the referee," Ieremia said. "So in a tight scenario like that we've just got to have the discipline to actually control what we can and backchat to the ref ain't going to help the team and it was costly in the end."

Some of Walsh's calls were bizarre, such as penalising Hurricanes prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen in a scrum for "mucking around", but Ieremia said that wasn't the reason they slipped up in Sydney.

"That's not solely why we lost the game. We certainly didn't help ourselves."

The Hurricanes need to get back to their winning ways to keep up the pace on the Super Rugby ladder.

- APNZ

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