World Rugby releases statement criticising referees at the World Cup

World Rugby releases astonishing statement criticising the performance levels of referees at the Rugby World Cup after just FOUR DAYS of action

  • The statement comes after some poor decisions during opening eight games 
  • Reece Hodge’s ‘no-arms’ shoulder tackle on Peceli Yato went unpunished
  • Hodge has since been cited and could face a ban for the rest of the tournament
  • Japan’s James Moore also escaped sanction for no-arms tackle in opening game 

World Rugby has issued a remarkable statement criticising the performance of its referees at the World Cup after just four days of the tournament.

The most notable case was Ben O’Keeffe’s failure to punish Australia winger Reece Hodge for a ‘shoulder-smash’ tackle to the head of Fiji’s Peceli Yato on Saturday. 

Yato subsequently failed a head injury assessment and Hodge has since been cited and faces a potentially tournament-ending ban. 

New Zealand referee Ben O’Keeffe did not award a penalty to Fiji for Reece Hodge’s smash

Hodge clatters into Peceli Yato, who had to be substituted as a result of concussion

In addition Japan lock James Moore escaped sanction for a no-arms tackle against Russia in the opening match of the tournament on Friday.

‘Following the usual review of matches, the match officials team recognise that performances over the opening weekend were not consistently of the standards set by World Rugby and themselves,’ the World Rugby statement read.

‘But World Rugby is confident of the highest standards of officiating moving forward.

Japan lock James Moore also escaped sanction for this ‘no-arms’ tackle against Russia in Tokyo

Moore was lucky to escape punishment for the dangerous shoulder charge last week 

‘Elite match officials are required to make decisions in complex, high-pressure situations and there have been initial challenges with the use of technology and team communication, which have impacted decision-making,’ the statement continued. 

‘These are already being addressed by the team of 23 match officials to enhance consistency.

‘Given this proactive approach, a strong team ethic and a superb support structure, World Rugby has every confidence in the team to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2019 delivers the highest levels of accurate, clear and consistent decision-making.’

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