Italy head coach Kieran Crowley says he is “sick” of going through World Rugby’s referee protocols, echoing concerns held by Rassie Erasmus, during a post-match rant about the officials in the Six Nations loss to Wales.
Italy look set to finish as the Six Nations wooden spoonists for the eighth consecutive year after suffering a 29-17 defeat to Wales in Rome, their 25th home loss in a row.
The hosts enjoyed a plethora of try-scoring opportunities, especially in the second half, but were denied by a desperate Wales outfit, who took full advantage of some indifferent decisions by Australian referee Damon Murphy.
In the immediate aftermath of the match, Italy coach Crowley fumed at the referee and shared his frustration with World Rugby’s protocol that requires teams to correspond with Joel Jutge, the head of referees, when questioning any decision made during a particular Test.
“It’s funny, it’s you’ve got to go through the right channels, but I’m getting sick of going through the right channels and getting a response that says: ‘Oh, we’re sorry we got it wrong’ because that just wasn’t good enough today,” Crowley said in a television interview after the final whistle.
“There’s a lot of bloody frustration!”
“I’m getting sick of going through the right channels and getting a response that says ‘sorry, we got it wrong’. That just wasn’t good enough today.”
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 11, 2023
Crowley’s concerns are similar to those raised by Erasmus over the past couple of years in two incidents that earned South Africa’s director of rugby bans.
Erasmus has intimated that the system of sending clips to Jutge’s department, which reviews the footage and provides feedback, is cumbersome and doesn’t result in timely feedback, nor does it improve performances.
In particular, Crowley was left irritated by the penalty count and a controversial first-half incident that saw Italy denied a try by an offsides flyhalf Owen Williams.
If there is a tackle – one player over the ball, on their feet – is it not a tackle which creates offside lines??
— Mike Cooper (RuckedOver) (@RuckedOver) March 11, 2023
“Oh yeah, look, if we get that penalty try it’s 15-10. What happened from there they came down the other end and got a penalty try,” Crowley said.
“Oh bloody oath, god, I mean, how can a team give away 17 penalties, not be warned once five or six of those on their own line.
“Then not awarding of a penalty try to us in the first half. There was clearly that number 10 was offside when he tackled.
“Then they didn’t even review the two guys that were cleaned out in the backfield when we broke. So there’s a lot of bloody frustration. Look, our execution wasn’t good enough at times. We’ve made a lot of line breaks and didn’t finish them so. We’re gonna take that on the chin and look at things we can control.”
Photo: Timothy Rogers/Getty Images