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Refs say sorry for late penalty blunder that cost Warriors victory
WITH Worcester’s Aviva Premiership season just three games old, the Sixways club have already received their second apology from refereeing chiefs.
In both of Warriors’ home games so far this term, they have been cost victory by poor officiating, which has twice led to Ed Morrison, the Rugby Football Union’s head of elite referee development, having to hold his hands up on behalf of his men with the whistle.
On Saturday, Gloucester snatched a 16-16 draw when JP Doyle wrongly awarded a scrum penalty to the visitors with the clock on zero, which followed on from Luke Pearce mistakenly penalising Worcester for off-side against Bath, which allowed Olly Barkley to secure a 24-23 win for his side.
However, following both matches, Warriors have been contacted by refereeing bosses to admit their officials had made incorrect — not to mention costly — calls.
“We have lost one game and drawn another when we should have won both on the basis of a wrong decision from the officials,” Warriors head coach Richard Hill fumed.
“It’s a high-pressure job for referees and it is so difficult to do – they have to make some big calls and we’ve been the victim of two disappointing ones already.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had another apology from the referees’ department this week.
“The last penalty against Gloucester shouldn’t have been awarded, but again that doesn’t help us now.
“On Monday morning, I was very hard on our front row for conceding that penalty, but it has been checked out by a lot of the experts and they said, ‘actually, that should not have been a penalty’.
“Ed is in charge of the referees, along with Brian Campsall, and they were at Sixways yesterday morning, and we had a good open dialogue.
“Apparently, they showed the scrum in question to Graham Rowntree, asked what he would have done and I’m led to believe he would have given the penalty the other way.
“They then came to us and said, ‘that was a mistake, we apologise’. That doesn’t help me or the team too much when we’ve lost, though.”
Hill added: “All the referees have been in the same room and they will have looked at two decisions at Sixways against Bath and Gloucester and they’ve seen Worcester have been hard done by.
“So, in the back of their minds, they will now think carefully as to what big decisions they will make against us.”