ARU back Dickinson

The ARU has called for consistency after Stuart Dickinson was heavily criticised by IRB manager of referees Paddy O’Brien.

O’Brien publicly slammed Dickinson for his handling of the match between Italy and the All Blacks last weekend, saying the Australian referee’s interpretation of the scrum laws was incorrect and this allowed Italy to have the upper hand at scrum time.

The New Zealander then visited All Blacks head coach Graham Henry after the game to apologise.

The ARU released a statement on Friday which said they were surprised by O’Brien’s actions.

‘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,’ the statement said. ‘The ARU thinks that the criticism of Dickinson, the leading referee in Australia for a number of years, was lacking in balance.

‘The analysis of scrums is an inexact science and the ARU is happy to discuss the findings of its own analysis with Mr O’Brien.’