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November 21, 2009

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ARU hits back after IRB's referee criticism

THE Australian Rugby Union has condemned the singling out of its leading referee by the International Rugby Board following New Zealand's dour 20-6 win over Italy last weekend.

The IRB's referee manager, New Zealander Paddy O'Brien, met with All Blacks coach Graham Henry in London this week to apologize for referee Stuart Dickinson's handling of the test, then made critical remarks about the Australian's interpretation of the scrum laws.

The ARU issued said that it was surprised by O'Brien's harsh public appraisal and demanded consistency in dealing with the performance of elite level referees.

"The IRB practice through Mr O'Brien has generally been to avoid singling out referees and making public comment about their performances," the ARU said.

"The ARU has no problem with this change in practice and in fact welcomes the open appraisal of refereeing performances. However, following the negative and very public review of Stuart Dickinson, we expect to see this transparent approach adopted on a consistent basis for all elite referees in the future."


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