Reds coach Brad Thorn has questioned the impact that referee calls are having on the growth of the game, after his side’s 39-16 loss to the Blues.
The Reds were twice caught on the end of referee Egon Seconds’ whistle, having wing Jordan Petaia and prop Taniela Tupou yellow-carded for dangerous tackles. During the period when both were off, the Blues scored 13 points to take control of the match.
The Blues also had two men sent to the sin bin as lock Matiaha Martin and prop Sione Mafileo saw yellow in the second half.
However, Thorn – who did not want his comments to come across as ‘sour grapes’ – said after the match that rugby is heading in a dangerous direction.
‘The game is in an interesting place, isn’t it?’ Thorn said. ‘I don’t know if that’s enjoyable for anyone.
‘Probably the No 1 thing, like for a lot of fans, coaches and players everywhere, it’s hurting the game. The game is getting hurt.
‘If that’s what rugby is, where you slow things down, a lifting tackle where he didn’t drive him into the ground. And Taniela came up, his hands from what I saw were in front of him, and he went in hard and low. If you want to, penalise, but then yellow-card as well?
‘As a 12-year-old, I remember my coach pulling me aside at half-time, “when you pick a guy up, drive him into the dirt”. I’m not saying we do that, but for me, it’s an interesting place. Referees are trying their best,’ the ex-All Black added.
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