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Warriors are unlucky over decisions says referees' chief Morrison
10:00am Friday 25th January 2013 in Sport
REFEREES’ chief Ed Morrison has admitted Worcester have been on the rough end of several decisions so far this season.
Controversial decisions by match officials late in games have cost Warriors at least eight points by adversly changing the outcome of the Aviva Premiership matches with Bath, Gloucester and Leicester at Sixways.
Morrison, who is the RFU’s head of elite referee development, was forced to issue apologies on behalf of referees Luke Pearce and JP Doyle for the Bath and Gloucester results, while Doyle also drew criticsm for awarding Tigers a hotly-contested match-winning penalty try.
However, while Morrison recognises Worcester have been hard done by at times this term, he is eager to point out how tough a job referees have.
He said: “I’ve been in at Worcester and we’ve had very positive discussions between myself and the coaching staff.
“I get disappointed when we (the referees) influence the outcome of the game, but sometimes in a complex sport like ours that happens.
“We have just got to reduce the amount of times that happens and I have to say that Worcester have been unlucky on one or two occasions this season.
“I’ve known Richard Hill for a long, long time, I had the pleasure — in fact, I wouldn’t say it was always a pleasure — of refereeing him when he played.
“Obviously, I have ties with the Bristol club and Richard was there for a long time and did a fantastic job, so I hold the guy in very high regard. I’ve had lots of conversations with him privately and that will continue.
“He is a very competitive person and he doesn’t take prisoners easily. We are in a public arena and you’d be a fool not to notice one or two things have gone amiss.”
Morrison added: “Refereeing is an incredibly tough environment and there is not a queue of people wanting to carry out the role — that’s not making excuses.
“Like the players, we referees make mistakes, but what we aim to do is to reduce the number of mistakes, just like Richard (Hill) and Nigel (Redman) are aiming to do with their players.
“We have got to get better and we want to do that and we will get better. We have a very young group of referees at the moment and they are learning very quickly — they’re also learning how tough it is, tougher than they probably anticipated.
“We need to support them because we have to have people who can run out in a stadium like Twickenham and perform at a high level.
“Yes, we have had a few issues of late, but we have to embrace that and work doubly hard to try and reduce the problems that occur.”
Morrison was at Sixways to represent the RFU at the trial of the GoalScan technology that is designed to judge whether or not kicks have definitely gone through the posts.
While there were a few teething problems on the day, Morrison believes the system could be a useful piece of kit in the future.
He added: “Mark Douglas, from the IRB, was with me at Sixways on Wednesday and I think he will report back the same as me that it is a work in progress, it is not ready to implement in any shape of form at this stage, however, they are making great strides.
“Potentially, it’s worth pursuing and hopefully the guys will continue to improve the system.
“All in all, my view is that as a sport we shouldn’t be afraid to look at technology — certainly from a refereeing perspective where the guys are under so much pressure these days.
“If we can help them with difficult decisions — particularly with high kicks at the top end of the posts — then that’s a good thing.”