Clancy criticised by IRB referees' chief over TMO


RUGBY:THE IRB referees’ chief Paddy O’Brien has publicly criticised Ireland’s George Clancy for his handling of Jimmy Cowan’s disallowed try in last Saturday’s Test match between New Zealand and South Africa in Port Elisabeth.

Clancy asked the Namibian born Television Match Official (TMO) Johan Meuswesen whether it was a “try or no try”, but when Meuswesen offered additional information, Clancy replied, “Yes.”

Meuswesen then told the Limerick referee that Israel Dagg’s final pass was forward and the try was subsequently disallowed.

“The referee and the television match official were operating outside our agreed protocol,” said O’Brien. “That will be addressed with George in our review of the game. It was disappointing and will form part of our discussions when we next meet.”

O’Brien, despite confirming that Clancy acted outside the laws of the game, confirmed he will still referee the tournament opener between the All Blacks and Tonga in Ellis Park on September 9th.

“They made a call they were not entitled to make,” O’Brien continued. “If that means referees miss a knock-on or something else in the lead up to a try, then that’s the way it is. This has all been talked about at the IRB level and that was the decision.”

Ironically, New Zealand coach Graham Henry supported the decision as he is a strong advocate of widening the TMO’s powers to include movements before a try is scored.

“If the officials can make good decisions on the evidence they have got, why not? I know it’s outside the laws of the game – they should only adjudicate over the goal line. But I haven’t got a problem with it.”

Meanwhile, Australia winger James O’Connor has been suspended from the weekend’s final Tri-Nations encounter, against New Zealand, for failing to attend an official squad function last Thursday. He was also given a $10,000 fine, which was suspended providing there is no further transgression from now until December 31st, 2012.

Munster’s Springbok prop BJ Botha has been ruled out for a month with a calf injury and will miss the RaboDirect Pro 12 opening fixture against The Dragons on September 3rd.