Should referees attend post-match media conferences?

Former Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell has suggested that World Rugby make their referees available for post-match media conferences to provide further clarity on their decisions during a Test match.

Mitchell’s comments were made in light of Australia wing Marika Koroibete having his red card overturned by an independent disciplinary committee.

Koroibete was sent off in the opening 10 minutes of the third Test match between Australia and France after colliding with Anthony Jelonch when the French forward gathered a kick.

Referee Ben O’Keefe and the TMO adjudged that Koroibete’s tackle carried a high degree of danger and that there were no mitigating factors, leaving them with no choice but to show the red card.

However, following Koroibete’s subsequent citing, the disciplinary committee decided to wipe the red card from his record as they deemed the tackle had made “shoulder to shoulder” contact and that any contact to Jelonch’s head or neck area was “incidental”.

Mitchell took to social media to call for referees to attend post-match conferences or interviews to explain some of the decisions they made during a particular Test match.

“In light of the Koribete red card being overturned, I believe World Rugby should get the officials to front the media to answer questions about their performances just like players & coaches do. It would provide clarity & understanding which may lead to less negativity from fans,” Mitchell tweeted.

“I’m not suggesting this to be a free for all & pile into the referees. I appreciate they’re under immense pressure but so to are the players. I think hearing from them more will humanise them & once getting to know them it will reduce the amount of negativity.

“There are also many moments where the referees engage with players positively and I’d love to hear their version of the interaction, much like Nigel Owens does on the regular. Referees are such a crucial part of the game and we need to see/hear them more post game.

“Lastly, I’ve spoken to a number of referees who wouldn’t just be happy to do it but actually want to so they can explain how they arrived at a decision … I appreciate not all referees would share the same opinion but I think it’s worth trialling at the very least …”
Photo: Albert Perez/Getty Images

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Dylan Jack