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Rob Andrew rejects Brendan Venter's attack on referees

Brendan Venter
Venter launched a withering attack on refereeing standards

Rugby Football Union elite rugby director Rob Andrew has rejected Brendan Venter's criticism of Premiership referees as "unfounded".

The Saracens boss implied that David Rose had been influenced during half-time in his side's defeat to Leicester.

The RFU called Venter's attack "highly inappropriate" and could charge him with bringing the game into disrepute.

Venter is also likely to face disrepute charges for revealing the outcome of a private review of officiating.

"We have one of the most advanced elite refereeing development programmes in world rugby and a number of our referees are on international panels at all levels," said Andrew.


"If there are concerns to be expressed then we have existing, and tried and tested, channels for doing so.

"Respect is one of rugby's core values which underpin our sport and that must include respect for the match officials at all times.

"We cannot go down the route where senior figures in the game do not demonstrate that respect.

"It is part of all of our professional responsibilities, including those of directors of rugby, to be positive role models for our clubs, players and supporters."

Saracens were leading the Tigers 6-3 at the interval in Saturday's match, but the league leaders were overhauled with Toby Flood kicking four second-half penalties for the visitors.

The result - a second successive Premiership defeat for leaders Sarries - prompted Venter to accuse Rose of being a "different" referee after the break.

The former London Irish player-coach also claimed that rugby was "dying" because of poor quality refereeing.

The RFU will also consider whether the South African has a case to answer after he revealed he received an apology from referee's chief Ed Morrison for David Richards' handling of last week's 23-19 loss to London Irish.

Morrison, head of elite referee development, reiterated his faith in his officials and criticised Venter's disclosure of their discussions in the wake of the Exiles' victory on 27 December.

"We have a robust review process with every referee and every club which we undertake after every game," he said.

"However, we absolutely do not expect those conversations to be reported out of context in the public domain."

Meanwhile Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks and his Newcastle counterpart Steve Bates joined the debate over referees by calling for greater consistency.

"Week-in, week-out the breakdown seems to be different," said Hanks after. "We need to get clear interpretation in terms of who's allowed to play the ball."

Bates added: "The referee has a very difficult job but we're not seeing as much consistency as we'd all like."

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see also
Refs killing rugby, fumes Venter
02 Jan 10 |  Saracens
Saracens 15-22 Leicester
02 Jan 10 |  Rugby Union
London Irish 23-19 Saracens
27 Dec 09 |  English
Coach Jones leaves Saracens early
13 Mar 09 |  Saracens
Wasps 6-12 Newcastle
03 Jan 10 |  Rugby Union

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