Lyndon Bray will issue a warning to Super Rugby sides about unacceptable behaviour

SANZAAR Referee’s Boss Lays Down The Law

Lyndon Bray will issue a warning to all Super Rugby sides after a controversial incident during a match between the Highlanders and the Crusaders last weekend.

The Crusaders appeared to have scored a try through No 8 Jordan Taufua, but when the conversion was about to be kicked, Highlanders captain Ben Smith walked from under the posts towards the referee imploring him to use the TMO.

According to Bray, referee Nick Briant was already in conversation with Glenn Newman (the TMO), but to everybody watching it appeared as if Ben Smith had pressured the referee into acting.

These actions were wholly unacceptable, said Bray, who will send out an email advising teams that they will not be tolerated in the future.

“The perception, immediately for all of us watching it, is that we believe Ben Smith influenced that outcome,” Bray said. “We can’t have that perception by allowing the captain to walk out to where the conversion is taking place.

“Did he influence it? No. But it certainly looked that way. And that is what we have to protect because it is not his role, and not his right, to engage in a discussion when the referee is allowing play to continue.

“I know Nick Briant would have felt uncomfortable with Ben Smith coming all the way out to the conversion,” Bray noted. “I have talked to Aaron Mauger (Highlanders coach) directly about that, and we have signed-off that Ben Smith is not entitled to take that approach. And I am going to be writing to all 15 head coaches with the summary of what the Highlanders have accepted, and what has to be our agreed protocol going forward.

“The bottom line is there is no way we want to see that become a regular practice.”

Denied: Taufua thought he had scored a try, but it was chalked off (Getty Images)

Bray went on to acknowledge how the integrity of the game must be maintained, especially in terms of the players relationship to the referee.

“It’s one of the things that sets rugby apart from particular games like soccer, that we really do have a strong and healthy respect for the role. It’s just an example where we have make it clear that it becomes unacceptable behaviour.”

What is your opinion on Smith’s actions?

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