Panasonic Wild Knights coach Robbie Deans gave a scathing review of the television match official at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground on Saturday as complaints about officiating in the Japan Rugby Top League once again overshadowed the rugby on display.
“He didn’t rule on the clear and obvious. He did rule on things not clear and obvious. That’s the opposite to his job description,” Deans said of off-field arbiter Shinji Aida following his side’s 31-24 win over Toshiba Brave Lupus.
Panasonic not only had two tries disallowed but the officials also completely ignored a dangerous off-the-ball tackle on Daniel Heenan.
Deans — who has won more Super Rugby titles than any other coach and spent 74 tests at the helm of the Australian national team — was upset that infringements that happened more than two phases before the tries were scored were brought up for review, contrary to the laws of the game.
“He should be benched, maybe even have his jersey taken off him,” Deans said in an outburst that caught many of the local media off guard.
Earlier at the same ground, the match between Toyota Verblitz and Hino Red Dolphins was held up on a number of occasions as officials seemed unable to make decisions on various rulings.
Toyota flyhalf Lionel Cronje was forced to wait more than five minutes after the final whistle to kick a conversion as a tackle that had no bearing on his try or the result was reviewed.
What made matters worse for the paying public was that for much of the time the big screen at Chichibunomiya simply displayed images of the referee and his assistants looking at themselves on the big screen rather than replays of the supposed infringement.
Elsewhere, there were a number of complaints following Yamaha Jubilo’s win over Honda Heat, a game that saw Honda penalized 22 times to Yamaha’s five and four Heat players sent to the sin bin.
When asked what impact the officials, and particularly the long delays, had on the players, Toshiba captain Richard Kahui was the epitome of diplomacy.
“As a player, you want the game to flow,” the former All Black said. “But you also want the right decision, so it’s all about trying to find the balance.”
His compatriot Deans, however, did not hold back.
“The public deserve better. He (the television match official) should stay out of the way.”
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