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Club Rugby

Graham Henry could face disciplinary action over referee comments

Former New Zealand head coach frustrated with referee Glen Jackson's performance in Auckland's 23-3 defeat to the Crusaders

World Cup-winning coach Sir Graham Henry faces potential disciplinary action after making a blistering attack on the standard of refereeing in Super rugby.

Henry, who now works as defense coach of the Auckland-based Blues, made the criticisms after a series of contentious decisions in the game against the Crusaders last weekend.

Chief among his complaints was the decision of the television match official not to award a try to Blues winger Frank Halai when replays suggested he had grounded the ball.

"He was probably a blind TMO, was he? It's an obvious try," Henry said.

"Then we had a situation where we had attacked under the sticks. Frank (Halai) went very close to scoring and (Crusaders scrumhalf) Andy Ellis is standing in front of the ball. It's a penalty try, isn't it?"

Henry said coaches were frustrated that those types of errors occurred while persistent offsides were ignored and more technical decisions strongly enforced.

"When you're watching the game you see so many offsides in the line from a ruck," he said. "We are sitting in the coaches' box, and I'm sure the Crusaders coaches are doing the same thing, saying `offside ref, offside line umpires'.

"Those are the things they're there for, not some controversial knock-down of the ball in the five-meter channel and a yellow card. Just do the basics right, just like you ask the rugby players to do, and you have a good game of footy.

"I would say there was probably 20 times at the weekend when guys were offside from the ruck. Just referee the basics, stay onside at ruck, and we have a good game of footy."

SANZAR referees manager Lyndon Bray on Wednesday defended the performance of referee Glen Jackson, his assistants and the television official. He said the decision to disallow Halai's try and sin-bin Retallick were both correct.

Bray has also recently defended his officials against criticism from Chiefs coach Dave Rennie and Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett who both threatened to make formal complaints against referees.

The Cape Town-based Stormers were fined $25,000 recently after team members on the sideline abused an assistant referee during their match against the Hurricanes on April 26.