IRB backs referees

Quite right too:

 IRB statement on referees

(Rugby News Service) Tuesday 9 October 2007

PARIS, 9 October – The International Rugby Board (IRB) is responsible for the appointment of all match officials for matches between international countries, including matches for IRB Rugby World Cup 2007.

The IRB believes the standard of refereeing is the highest it has ever been at a Rugby World Cup tournament. The criticism of referee Wayne Barnes following the France versus New Zealand quarter-final match on Saturday, 6 October is completely unwarranted.

All the referees for the knockout stages earned their appointments following outstanding performances in the pool stages. The selection process employed for the tournament is the one used for all international match appointments and consists of individual referee assessments, feedback from coaches and review by the IRB match official selection committee.

Match officials are under immense pressure during major matches and it has to be recognised that at times certain incidents are missed. Match officials have to make decisions instantly and do not have the luxury of replays which are available to spectators and the media.

The IRB stands behind the match official selection process, the referees and its Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien one hundred percent.

RNS dk/kb

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