Henry blasts match officials

Date published: May 21 2013

Blues assistant coach Sir Graham Henry has criticised the match officials following his side's loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Blues assistant coach Sir Graham Henry has criticised the match officials following his side's loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

With the Auckland-based franchise's boss Sir John Kirwan absent, Henry answered questions from the media and made no secret of his unhappiness with some of the match officials' decisions from the match which the Crusaders won 23-3.

The former All Blacks coach suggested, among other things, that the television match official was “blind'' and Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett “got away with murder”.

According to Henry, the Blues should have been awarded a penalty try and Frank Halai definitely scored a try which was disallowed by TMO Keith Brown in the second half.

The World Cup winning coach said the decision was “ludicrous''.

“I could see it and I'm blind,'' he told Fairfax Media.

Henry added that referee Glen Jackson's decision to send Blues lock Culum Retallick to the sin-bin for an intentional knock-on was unfair as the player “is not that good, he's not that capable [of doing that], all due respects to Red, and he'll understand what I'm saying.''

Referring to Halai's attempt to score among a tangle of Crusaders' bodies, Henry said: “It was obvious to me. I don't know, he's probably a blind TMO is he?

“Then you had a situation where we attacked under the sticks. Frank went very close to scoring under the sticks and Andy Ellis is standing in front of the ball.

“It's a penalty try isn't it? Those sorts of things frustrate you but it's part of the game.

“They were better than us, I accept that, they deserved to win the game. But I don't think it's all bad from a Blues side.''

When asked if he was frustrated with the way Jackson interpreted the scrums, Henry didn't hold back.

“Oh for sure,” he said.

“I think Wyatt got away with murder. I thought there were a couple of scrum penalties which were frustrating to be frank, but after 40 years you get used to it.''

Henry said match officials should stick to the basics, instead of looking for reasons to send players off.

“When you're watching the game and you guys [media] watch the game, I'm sure, you see so many offsides from the ruck, not being behind the last man's feet at the ruck, and we are sitting in the coaches' box and I'm sure Toddy and the Crusaders' coaches are doing the same thing, saying 'offside ref, offside assistant referees',” he explained.

“Those are the things they are there for, not some controversial knock-down of the ball in the 5m channel, yellow card.

“Just do the basics right, just like you ask rugby players to do the basics right, and you have a good game of footy.

“I would say there were probably 20 times in the game at the weekend where guys were offside at the ruck and we get this one controversial 'did he knock the ball down' [decision].

“As I say, [Retallick's] not good enough to do that, he was just trying to stop them from scoring.

“They threw the ball at him. He did a good job, he got in the road, and he got yellow-carded for deliberately knocking the ball down. It's bulls***.''

With tongue in cheek, Henry said it was not his job to raise the issues with Sanzar referees' boss Lyndon Bray.

“I'm just trying to keep a low profile as you can see and not be controversial,” he added.

“But I've enjoyed talking to you and I think we should stop that now.''