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Refs are killing rugby, says Saracens boss Venter

Brendan Venter
Venter received an apology for the refereeing display against London Irish

Saracens boss Brendan Venter has made a blistering attack on refereeing standards in the Premiership, saying they are killing the game in England.

Venter was unhappy with referee Dave Rose's performance in Sarries' defeat by Leicester, implying the official had been influenced at half-time.

"There is a problem and that is the game is determined by referees and not by teams," said the South African.

"Everybody wants to know why the game is dying - maybe that is why."

Leicester fly-half Toby Flood kicked five penalties - including four in the second half - as Saracens stumbled to their second successive league defeat.

Despite the loss, Sarries maintained their place at the top of the table courtesy of a bonus point.

However, South African Venter was adamant Rose's second-half performance played a significant factor in the defeat.

"The penalty count in the first half was 9-3 to Sarries. The penalty count in the second half was 10-4 to Leicester," he said.

"I didn't say to my team: 'Look boys, we are leading, let's cheat more.' We asked the referee to keep everything the same in the second half.

If I can watch the opposition's last five matches, how come the referee doesn't look at the last game and come prepared?

Brendan Venter

"For some reason, something happened to this poor referee and there was basically a 12-count penalty swing.

"There was one referee in the first half, he walked through a maze or something, and he came out another referee.

"I want to look at the opposition, shake his hand and say, 'you out-thought us, you out-played us, you out-muscled us, well done'. That is not what I can do today."

Venter had received a letter of apology from Rugby Football Union referees' head Ed Morrison for the performance of Dean Richards in last weekend's defeat at London Irish.

And the former South Africa international questioned why match officials do not prepare with the same level of analysis as coaches and players.


"We sat with the referees this week and went through the entire London Irish game and watched every single breakdown," he said.

"London Irish had 25 offences (missed) last week, we had one. The words were: 'Sorry, we got it unbelievably wrong.'

"I made a request this week for the referee to look at the video of our last game and Leicester's last game but I was told they don't normally do that.

"If I can watch the opposition's last five matches, how come the referee doesn't look at the last game and come prepared?"

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see also
Saracens 15-22 Leicester
02 Jan 10 |  Rugby Union
Sarries sign Bulls flanker Burger
30 Dec 09 |  Saracens
London Irish 23-19 Saracens
27 Dec 09 |  English

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