The former All Blacks boss who is now a technical advisor for the Pumas, had some choice words to say about the standards of refereeing in the Rugby Championship, saying that referees and the judicial panel have been “totally inconsistent” and are “a weakness in the game.”
He was speaking in a panel show which aired in New Zealand, and commenting on the citing of Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe during last weekend’s Test against Australia, Henry said the judiciary is “totally inconsistent just like the refereeing.”
Henry said a decision to issue a yellow card to Wallabies flank Michael Hooper for a tip tackle in the same match was “madness” and referees appeared to be looking for excuses to award yellow cards beyond “the obvious.” “I just can’t understand what they are seeing because everyone else doesn’t agree,” he said.
Henry agreed with another panelist, former All Blacks scrumhalf Justin Marshall, that referees were awarding red and yellow cards too quickly and it was affecting the outcome of matches. “I think that is a weakness in the game at the moment,” he said. “We need totally transparency.”
This comes months after Henry found himself in hot water with SANZAR after comments he made regarding a Super Rugby game between the Blues and the Crusaders. Henry was working as a consultant with the Blues at the time and suggested that the TMO was ‘blind’ after disallowing a Blues try. “It was obvious to me, I don’t know, he was probably a blind TMO was he? It’s an obvious try,” he said.
However, despite a misconduct charge he was let off with a reprimand and an agreement to issue a public apology.
SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters is aware of Henry’s comments and said the matter would be investigated.