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  Monday, 22 October, 2001, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Back lambasts referee
A dejected Neil Back leaves the pitch at Lansdowne Road
Neil Back failed to lead England to Grand Slam glory
Neil Back has criticised referee Paul Honiss for making "ludicrous decisions" in England's 20-14 Six Nations defeat by Ireland on Saturday.

For the third successive season, coach Clive Woodward saw his side throw away the chance of a Grand Slam by losing their last match of the competition.

Being crowned champions for the second year in a row was scant consolation.

Back, who took over as captain when Matt Dawson was forced off with a hamstring injury, admitted the Irish deserved their success.


It is impossible for me to believe that any side in the history of sport has felt so empty at being declared the best
Neil Back

But he claimed the home side were helped by a poor performance by ref Honiss.

"I have never watched videos of our previous Grand Slam defeats to Wales and Scotland, but I will look at this one," the Leicester flanker told The Mirror newspaper.

"Some of the referee's decisions baffled me. In fact, some were ludicrous.

"Of course it comes across as sour grapes, but it's not - Ireland deserved their win.

"But I need to find explanations for what went wrong before I can start to come to terms with a day which promised so much but delivered nothing but pain.

"It is a massive disappointment, the lowest point of my career.

"It is impossible for me to believe that any side in the history of sport has felt so empty at being declared the best."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC rugby union correspondent Ian Robertson
"The script was turned upside down"
England coach Clive Woodward
"We deserved to get beat"
Ireland captain Keith Wood
"It was great teamwork all the way through"
England stand-in captain Matt Dawson
"I'm sure during the week it wll feel even worse"
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