Former Irish International Not Happy With PRO14 Referee After Poor Performance

‘Referees must use common sense.’

Former Irish international Tony Ward says referees must use common sense when introducing the latest set of rule changes that came into affect in round 1 of the PRO14 and Premiership this past weekend.

Ward is not happy with how Welshman Ben Whitehouse dealt with the Connacht and Glasgow fixture at the Sportsground on Saturday, which was played in horrendous conditions.

The former Ireland playmaker has criticised Whitehouse’s handling after giving both teams a chat about the law changes beforehand and the need to stop wasting time at the set-piece.

“Before Saturday’s game in Galway, in dire conditions, referee Ben Whitehouse gave an informative explanation of the new laws governing the catcher taking the ball into touch and on the scrum-half putting the ball into the scrum to enable a front-row to strike.” Ward wrote in the Independent
“I can see front-row forwards from previous generations shaking their heads in disbelief – and I’m not just talking about the hooker.
“The match official explained the need to cut down on time wasting at the scrum.
“Nobody could argue with the rationale behind the experimental changes and for the watching audience, Whitehouse was concise.

“I am slow to criticise referees because I believe it is a thankless task and therefore by extension have enormous respect for those who take up the whistle, in particular former players.
“Technically, I’m sure he could justify almost every blast of the whistle in terms of the rule book, but it is on inclement days like Saturday that an element of leeway has to be given.
“To pick just one example from the maestro (Nigel Owens), when the ball has been won and moved beyond the front-row even the scrum collapsing (providing the official deems it safe) should not require a reset.
“I’m still on your side, Ben – but slow down on that whistle.”

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