Understandably emotional after being informed of the death of his father following a long illness, Woodward let fly at Hart in unusually forthright fashion, accusing him of attempting to influence Wayne Erickson, the Australian referee, during the half-time interval. "That sort of thing is against the spirit of the game," said the former Lions centre. "I know he rates himself pretty highly but it's not the sort of thing you do. Erickson should have told him to piss off, but he'd lost the plot."
Woodward was even less impressed with Erickson's on-field jurisdiction. Having infuriated England with his refereeing of the scrums and his apparent inability to spot blatant All Black offsides, he effectively wrecked their hopes of keeping pace with the New Zealanders by dismissing Danny Grewcock, the Saracens lock, for stamping 30 minutes into the game.
Hart, normally the coolest of cucumbers under fire, was almost incandescent on hearing of Woodward's outburst. "I spoke to the referee at the break because I was worried about the safety of eight men scrummaging against seven," he said. "I told him we wanted the scrums de-powered. We could have gone out there and driven the scrums, but I wouldn't want to be sitting here talking about serious injuries."
For his part, Erickson confirmed that Hart had attempted to strike up a conversation during the interval, but insisted he had ignored the New Zealander. He was far more illuminating on the Grewcock incident, however: "He kicked Anton Oliver [the All Black hooker] on the top of the head," he said. "It was not an accident, there was no ambiguity. I regard it as a very serious and dangerous offence."
Grewcock was being dealt with by a disciplinary panel in Dunedin today. Ian Jones, his opposite number, was also due to face the music after being cited by a match commissioner for stamping on the face of Graham Rowntree, the Leicester prop.
Meanwhile, Woodward was planning to fly home today to attend his father's funeral.
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