No clarity for Connacht on controversial Munster trial


Connacht head coach Andy Friend said he had yet to receive any feedback from the United Rugby Championship following his comments on refereeing standards on Saturday.

The Australian has expressed frustration after Chris Cloete’s controversial try helped Munster win 20-18 against his side at Thomond Park.

Friend said the decision to award the try so quickly showed inconsistency and stressed that the league is currently still without a referee manager after Greg Graner’s departure this summer.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Friend said he had yet to be contacted by the RCU to discuss his frustrations.

When asked if he thought he should have been contacted by now, Friend was elusive.

“It’s not for me to decide,” he said, before adding that he could make contact himself.

“I would have liked, maybe, some explanation, but in my mind, I thought that everyone is normally quite busy on a Monday or Tuesday.

“If I haven’t heard anything by tomorrow afternoon, I could make a few calls.

On several occasions, the Connacht coach has cited the ‘healthy working relationship’ between him and the Irish referees, who he says are always open to dialogue and feedback every week.

However, the lack of an arbitration chief to link the five different unions of the RCU remains a problem.

“It makes it tough, it makes it tough,” Friend said.

“We also have access to Johnny Lacey and Dudley Phillips who lead the referees in Ireland, and we have a great working relationship with them.

“They are supporting us by giving us referees during the week, we have Eoghan Cross on Thursday to support our session in preparation for Ulster.

“I can – and I do every week – call Johnny (Lacey) and discuss things around the law, but he has an Irish approach and an Irish orientation.

“From a competition point of view, I know they are trying to replace Greg Graner (below) who left at the end of last season, but I think it’s important.”

Friend stressed that his comments on Tuesday and last Saturday were not a criticism of some match officials, but that he was simply looking for consistency in their approach.

“So calling that wasn’t a direct attack on an individual, it certainly wasn’t against Chris Busby (referee), I just thought it was the lack of process, which didn’t been undertaken.

“You just want to get clarification because you want to make sure you can get the message across to your team.

“That’s the point of doing it, it’s not a witch hunt, it’s not trying to find flaws in someone else’s performance, it’s just trying to clarify what are standards, because it changes quite quickly. “



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