Rugby World Cup 2019: 'Officiating not good enough' - World Rugby

By Chris Jones BBC rugby union correspondent in Kobe
Reece Hodge flies through the air after his controversial unpunished tackle on Peceli Yato
One of the controversial decisions in Japan was Reece Hodge (right) escaping punishment for this tackle on Peceli Yato - he has now been cited

The refereeing at the Rugby World Cup's opening weekend has not been good enough, says the world governing body.

In an unprecedented step, World Rugby has released a statement criticising the standard of officiating over the first few days of the tournament.

The opening matches featured a number of controversial incidents.

"The match officials team recognise that performances were not consistently of the standards set by World Rugby and themselves," said World Rugby.

But the body added it is "confident of the highest standards of officiating moving forward".

Among the incidents, Australia wing Reece Hodge escaped punishment for a tackle on Fiji's Peceli Yato, who was forced to leave the field with a head injury.

Hodge has now been cited and will have a hearing on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, there was controversy at the end of France's win over Argentina, with England scrum-half Danny Care among those adamant that France's number eight Louis Picamoles should have been penalised for offside before making a crucial interception in the closing stages.

"For me that is the difference between a team going out at the pool stages and a team going through to a quarter-final," Care said on the Rugby Union Weekly podcast.

"It was an awful decision - he was a metre offside. I don't know what the touch judges are looking at."

World Rugby have publicly reprimanded officials in the past, such as when they confirmed South African referee Craig Joubert's mistake at the end of the Rugby World Cup quarter-final in 2015 between Scotland and Australia.

However, this is the first time the governing body has criticised the general standard of officiating across the board.


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