Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021: Referees must 'own our mistakes' after shocker Super Rugby weekend

NZ referees boss Bryce Lawrence admits mistakes were made in both matches of Super Rugby Aotearoa over the weekend.

The Blues were left frustrated after a brilliant length-of-the-field try was disallowed for a forward-pass call, one of several dubious decisions that frustrated players, coaches and fans.

All Blacks star Rieko Ioane looked to have scored one of the tries of the year in Sunday's pasting of the Highlanders, but third match official Paul Williams ruled the pass from brother Akira was forward, despite the ball seemingly going backwards out of the hands.

"Just looking at the start point and the finish point is not the way to look at it," Blues coach Leon MacDonald said afterwards. "It's up for debate."

Lawrence admits there were calls his referee team needed to review and learn from.

"As we do every week, we will have our official referee team review session 36 hours after the completion of the last match, which allows us to go through both matches, share our thoughts with teams and get feedback from the coaches, and assess our collective performance," he says.

"Just like the players, we set high standards, we strive for excellence and we're passionate about the game. We will own our mistakes and keep learning.

"We are committed to being better next weekend."

While that review will take place tomorrow, World Rugby's laws state the pass must go backwards out of the hands and should be assessed purely on passing action - not the movement of the ball relative to the ground.

"When you're running [at] high speed, full speed like Aki [Ioane] was, the ball is always going to travel forward," MacDonald added. "That's just physics.

"It didn't cost us, but you want to be getting those right."

The Crusaders' hammering of the Chiefs also had no shortage of contention, with Leicester Fainga'anuku awarded a controversial try, despite appearing to have his foot in touch.

A Chiefs captain’s challenge for a forward pass in the lead-up to Brad Weber's yellow card was incorrectly ruled out and actually resulted in Weber being sin-binned.

While they were frustrated at the time, teams won’t be dwelling on it.

"[You] can’t change that call, so we’ll just drop it," Akira Ioane says. "But it was a hell of a seed, I must admit."

With a top-of-the-table clash between the Blues and the Crusaders this weekend, incorrect calls could be costly.

Join us at 7pm Saturday for live updates of the Hurricanes v Chiefs Super Rugby Aotearoa clash