Coaches to meet referees again

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The Independent Online
England's leading coaches will stage yet another clear-the-air meeting with senior referees over the next few days in an effort to end the rampant confusion over ruck and tackle rules. Many international players are concerned at what they believe to be an inconsistent approach by Allied Dunbar Premiership and Heineken Cup officials and are pressing for immediate action.

Yesterday, the urgency of the situation was reiterated by Kim Deshayes, the chief executive of the English Rugby Partnership, the body charged with administering the top end of the domestic club game. "If the actual participants can't get the rules straight, it's difficult to see how the spectators can hope to understand what they are watching," he said. "We do not have a satisfactory situation at the moment, but a meeting is imminent and we all hope it will clarify matters."

Richard Hill, the Gloucester coach, described the last meeting of minds between coaches and referees at Bisham Abbey as "a shambles" while Lawrence Dallaglio, the Wasps captain, has repeatedly voiced fears that the rules applied in England are different to those in force in the southern hemisphere. "We could get penalised to high heaven when we play New Zealand, South Africa and Australia," he said at the weekend.

In Sydney, Wallaby officials plan to name their new national coach later this week. Rod Macqueen of Australian Capital Territory and John Connolly of Queensland have the field to themselves after Cardiff's Alec Evans decided not to run.

Christophe Deylaud, the French international outside-half, is out for a month after injuring his knee during the Toulouse-Leinster game in Dublin on Saturday while Philippe Saint-Andre, a former French captain, twanged a thigh muscle while playing for Gloucester against Padova.