Rugby Union: Ware's war of words

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THE WAR of words intensified yesterday between Bath and Alun Ware, the referee who sent off the England prop Victor Ubogu for persistent dissent last week at Cardiff. In his programme notes for the Allied Dunbar Premiership match against Sale, Bath's coach Andy Robinson called on the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union to acknowledge the Anglo- Welsh friendlies as bona fide games and appoint top officials to take charge of them.

Robinson wrote: "The stage was set for a magnificent occasion - more than 12,000 people, two teams at the top of their game, perfect weather conditions, a match of international standing. So what went wrong? Unfortunately, the man in charge was equivalent to a Sunday morning park referee. But I'm not blaming him. It wasn't his fault. He was completely out of his depth and should never have been put in that position.

"If we are to get any credibility in our sport, the RFU and WRU should now acknowledge the Anglo-Welsh friendlies as bona fide games and therefore put the best referees in charge for the sake of the spectators and the players. How would Clive Woodward and John Mitchell feel if two of their leading players were not available to play in the forthcoming internationals because of injury in an Anglo-Welsh friendly due to incompetent refereeing? Something must change."

However, Ware insisted: "People need to remember that the referee's decision is final. Bath totally over-reacted to the sending off. I've been asked to submit a report to Rugby Football Union and I will do that. Everybody is jumping on the bandwagon and blaming the referees when before the Cardiff- Bath match everybody was praising us for being involved with these fixtures."

Bristol surrendered their 100 per cent record in Premiership Two when they went down 16-5 at Rotherham, all of whose points were scored by Doug Trivella. But Bristol still head the table on points difference from Worcester whose 29-6 home win over Rugby featured a 19-point contribution from Jon Liley. Steve Gough, the division's leading points scorer, kicked a further 16 as third-placed Coventry saw off visitors Orrell 26-14 and Lyndon Griffiths provided 22 as Waterloo moved up to fourth with a 27-6 home success over Fylde.

Llanelli could be gazumped in their attempt to bring Scott Quinnell back to his home town after the Richmond chief executive Tony Hallett said yesterday that he would listen to bids from English as well as Welsh clubs for the Wales No 8, who is valued at pounds 100,000.

Waterlogged pitches accounted for all the Welsh Premier Division games yesterday and the only First Division fixture to go ahead was Dunvant's 32-15 victory at Llandovery.

Rugby results, page 14