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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

Smith sorry for referee comments

Referee Jonathan Kaplan lectures England skipper Steve Borthwick at the Millennium Stadium
Kaplan took a tough line over England's infringements

England attack coach Brian Smith has apologised to referee Jonathan Kaplan for his comments following the Six Nations match against Wales.

Smith accused Kaplan of not treating the teams equally, claiming he had been swayed by the Wales management.

But he said: "We've since spoken and I believe it was a positive conversation.

"I apologised for expressing my views publicly because it would have more productive to have raised those directly with him after the match."

Smith added in a statement issued by the Rugby Football Union: "Jonathan is one of the best referees in the world and I'm sure we'll continue to have a healthy working relationship."

Last month, Smith was censured by the International Rugby Board who said his comments about Kaplan were "unwarranted".

"The official review of the match ranks Kaplan's performance as high," said the IRB.

"The IRB is satisfied that Kaplan followed the correct protocol for addressing both teams on and off the field and dealt with England and Wales in a fair and professional manner."


Smith had not held back in his criticism of Kaplan, who he believed had come under pressure from Wales to find fault in England's play at the breakdown.

"His whole demeanour through that match, the way he addressed our team in the changing room beforehand - he had clearly had heaps of pressure put on by Wales," said Smith, following the 23-15 defeat on 14 February.

"The way our team was addressed prior to the Wales game took me a little bit by surprise. It was clear to me that Wales had done their job in terms of getting stuck into the referee."

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see also
Wales 23-15 England
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales v England photos
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations as it happened
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union

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