Referee 'satisfied' with punishment

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The Independent Online
Steve Lander, the Pilkington Cup final referee pushed by Neil Back, said he had "no personal reaction" to the player's ban. But he added: "I am absolutely satisfied that the principle of not laying hands on the referee has been upheld.

"You can feel vulnerable out there with such power and energy surrounding you. It is the first incident of that type I have been involved in and, as far as I know, it is a one-off.

"There has always been a good relationship between players and referees. You can always talk to them afterwards and let's hope that that continues. I am sure that it will."

Richard Moon, the secretary of the newly formed Rugby Union Players' Association, said: "The stated aim of Rupa is to maintain fair play and good sportsmanship. There has been concern about the attitude of players on the field in the professional era. But amateur or pro, the referee's word is law and nobody should put that fact in jeopardy.

"Obviously the RFU felt that the game had been brought into disrepute and we support this attempt to uphold the good name of rugby. We must avoid at all costs a situation as in soccer where footballers feel that they can ping-pong the referee around.

"We don't want to go down the road of the other sports where the officials are abused and jostled by players. Rugby players will be reminded by this ban that they are in the shop window and watched by millions of youngsters."

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