IRB slams Honiss

The IRB has responded angrily to Paul Honiss’s comments that players should talk more to referees and question decisions.

The New Zealand referee, who is on the IRB’s 12-man referee panel for the World Cup, has been told by the world governing body that his comments were “against IRB policy”.

“The message from the IRB has not changed,” said IRB CEO Mike Miller. “Back-chat and arguing with a match official will not be tolerated, nor will any attempt to influence a referee or slow down the match through questioning the referee. Players who overstep the mark will be penalised accordingly and the IRB has reiterated this policy to the referee panel.”

“Paul Honiss’s comments encouraging players to verbally engage the referee more were out of line. He has been reprimanded by the IRB referee manager [fellow Kiwi Paddy O'Brien] and he has been told that such actions will not be tolerated moving forward. He has been reminded about his responsibilities as a Test match referee and he has accepted that his actions were contrary to IRB policy.”

O’Brien added; “The referee’s decision is final on the field of play. Nowhere in the game’s laws does it say that players can question the referee or try to influence his decision making. We allow captains to talk to the referee but only at appropriate moments and it is not a given right.”