Refereeing 'hurting' rugby: Thorn

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Dispirited Reds coach Brad Thorn has taken aim at the way rugby is being officiated after his side were dealt two yellow cards in as many minutes against the Blues.

Thorn said the game was in an "interesting place" and subsequently no longer enjoyable for fans when queries were raised about the cards handed to Jordan Petaia and Taniela Tupou.

"The game is an interesting place... I don't know if that's enjoyable for people," he said.

"Everyone is talking about it on both sides of the Tasman.

"It's interesting - I don't know what I'm supposed to say about it."

Thorn said the constant, slow motion TMO interventions were "hurting the game" he knows and loves.

"It's hurting the game - the game is getting hurt," he said.

"If that's what rugby is where you slow things down and the lifting tackle... he didn't drive him into the ground.

"Taniela came up and his hands from what I saw were in front of him.

"He went in hard, low and missed the tackle.

"If you want to get extreme... do you want to penalise and then give a yellow card as well?"

The rookie Reds coach also questioned the way the deliberate knockdown is policed - pointing to the way the NRL handles such situations as a possible way forward.

"The deliberate knockdown rule - league just gets on with it," he said.

"It's a bad pass, pack a scrum and get on with it.

"It's an interesting place that the game is in if that is where you want to go.

"For me, it's hard, I was a physical player - it's an interesting place."

While the officials will receive plenty attention, Thorn also made sure he paid credit to Jerome Kaino and the Blues, while emphasising his side's lack of rugby smarts.

"Obviously it was a loss for us so I want to show respect to Jerome and well done to the Blues - it's been a long, hard season and I want to show respect to Jerome who is a true, hard soldier," he said.

"I didn't think we handled... emphasising field position.

"When we got down in those areas and we were smart and played field position we could use our strengths but it's just a learning, especially for our young drivers.

"You want to be playing at the right end in these conditions, especially when you're not used to them."