Rugby Union: Henry wants line-out clarified

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The Independent Online
GRAHAM HENRY, the Wales coach, will fly to Dublin on Thursday to meet Steve Griffiths, the International Rugby Board referees' development officer.

Henry was disappointed with the way the English referee Ed Morrison handled the line-out during Wales' defeat to Scotland in the Five Nations' match at Murrayfield on Saturday. Morrison clamped down on the Welsh tactic of arriving late at the line-out in order to secure quick ball. He called them in to the line-out repeatedly, negating a tactic which had previously brought success.

"We didn't have any problems with the Australian and Irish referee in the last two Tests, but Ed Morrison kept calling the guys in," Henry said. "It made it shambolic and increased the indecision."

Roger Pickering, the Five Nations Committee chief executive, has written to tournament sponsors Lloyds TSB complaining about the on-pitch logo in Dublin which caked Ireland and France players in dye.

The blue and red dye was not permanently adhesive to the turf, and Ireland's green shirts were soon multi-coloured. France, wearing blue, had red stains disfiguring them.

"It was unacceptable, and I have told the sponsors that they must explore the technical side of this to ensure it does not happen again," Pickering said.

The Lloyds TSB sponsorship manager, Mark Harper, responded by saying: "I'm not aware of any complaints. I had dinner with the Irish officials on Saturday night and they all thought it looked great."

The problem occurred when it started raining just after the logo had been completed, not allowing sufficient time for it to dry. "If it had been a muddy pitch the players would have got brown on their shirts instead of blue," Harper said. "It hasn't affected the score or made any real difference."

The New Zealand hooker Norm Hewitt broke down in tears yesterday and admitted he had an alcohol problem. Hewitt, who is captain of the Wellington Hurricanes Super 12 side, publicly apologised for his drunken behaviour in Queenstown early on Saturday morning when he severely gashed his arm after falling through the glass door of a house. Hewitt, in Queenstown for a pre-season warm-up against Otago, apparently mistook the house for his team's hotel.

The 30-year-old has not been dropped from either the All Black squad or the Wellington Hurricanes. but David Moffett, the New Zealand Rugby Football Union chief executive, confirmed he has been punished.

Hewitt said he would be seeking help for his drinking problem.