England coach calls for consistency from officials around hits to the head

Eddie Jones labels Scott Barrett red card “ridiculous”

England coach Eddie Jones has described the sending off of Scott Barrett in yesterday’s Australia-New Zealand game as “ridiculous” and called for more consistency from officials.

All Blacks lock Barrett was red-carded just before half-time in Perth after making contact with the head of Australia captain Michael Hooper at a ruck close to New Zealand’s try-line.

Referee Jerome Garces was quick to call on the TMO after witnessing the incident and the officials judged the shoulder charge to the head to be with force and dangerous, thus resulting in a red card.

Barrett is only the fourth All Black to ever be sent off and his team went on to suffer a record 47-26 defeat.

The Barrett incident has divided opinion but World Rugby are making a concerted effort to clamp down on any hits to the head in the hope of improving player welfare.

Jones brought up the sending off in his press conference following England’s 33-19 win over Wales in a World Cup warm-up.

Asked a question about debutant Willi Heinz, Jones went off on a tangent to highlight what he felt were inconsistencies in officiating.

“I thought there was an issue with the referee,” said Jones. “We had a red card yesterday which affected the game. We need to get some consistency into that area of the game.

“In the World Cup if you lose a player through a red card as New Zealand did yesterday, it makes the game very difficult. I thought we saw two instances today where that could have happened.

Eddie Jones labels Scott Barrett red card “ridiculous”

Try time: Luke Cowan-Dickie scores in England’s win over Wales (Getty Images)

“I’d urge World Rugby – although I don’t think they do anything at great pace, do they? – to get consistency in that area because otherwise we will have games being destroyed by an inconsistent official making a decision on a law that’s not clear.”

Asked specifically about the Barrett incident, he said: “I thought it was ridiculous. A bloke gets tackled, he (Barrett) goes to be second man in and his shoulder hits his head and he gets a red card.

“We can’t have that in the game. There has to be some common sense applied but maybe common sense was applied today really well. But what I’m saying is that we need to have some consistency and common sense. I think it’s really important for the game.”

Yet Jones’s own criticism seemed to be inconsistent: labelling Barrett’s sending off as “ridiculous” while criticising referee Mathieu Raynal for missing similar incidents at Twickenham. And Jones also wouldn’t specify which incidents he thought could have resulted in red cards.

Perhaps it was all just a ploy to discourage further talk about England’s World Cup squad announcement tomorrow…

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